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%gxjnham Public Library 

760 S. Main Street 
Raynham, MA 02767 

Fax: 508-824-0494 

October 12, 2012 

Dear Patrice, 

I am writing to request copyright permission for your book, The History of Raynham, 
printed by Drummond Printing, c1990, to be digitized and made available online. 

A recent grant awarded to the Boston Public Library by the Massachusetts Board of 
Library Commissioners and funded by the Library Services and Technology Act provides 
an excellent opportunity for the Library to take advantage of free digitization services. The 
service is available to organizations interested in digitizing collections of photographs, 
manuscripts and other unique items. 

We consider your work to be an extremely valuable and unique resource for Raynham 
history, and would like to include it in the collection to be digitized. Once digitized, the 
book would be available in the SAILS Digital History Collection online through Omeka, a 
web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly 
collections and exhibitions. Many SAILS libraries have placed digitized copies of items in 
this collection. The book would be fully searchable through any web-browser and thereby 
enabling generations of researchers - young and old - online access to information on 
early Raynham. 

We hope that you consider our request favorably. Please indicate your permission below 
and return this request in the enclosed self addressed envelope. 

I am including a second copy of this request for your records. 

Best regards, 

Eden Fergussoiy 
Library Director 

(3 Permission granted 

D Permission granted with the following restrictions: 

□ Permission denied 

ignature: Tfl> f J f)>fjr/^ r ^ 3\r £',/», 

Date: L7 /Cfc/rfrifr^ Ar /;a /:? 

%aynfiam Public Li6rary 

760 S. Main Street 
Raynham, MA 02767 

Fax: 508-824-0494 

October 12, 2012 

Dear Patrice, 

I am writing to request copyright permission for your book, The History of Raynham, 
printed by Drummond Printing, c1990, to be digitized and made available online. 

A recent grant awarded to the Boston Public Library by the Massachusetts Board of 
Library Commissioners and funded by the Library Services and Technology Act provides 
an excellent opportunity for the Library to take advantage of free digitization services. The 
service is available to organizations interested in digitizing collections of photographs, 
manuscripts and other unique items. 

We consider your work to be an extremely valuable and unique resource for Raynham 
history, and would like to include it in the collection to be digitized. Once digitized, the 
book would be available in the SAILS Digital History Collection online through Omeka, a 
web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly 
collections and exhibitions. Many SAILS libraries have placed digitized copies of items in 
this collection. The book would be fully searchable through any web-browser and thereby 
enabling generations of researchers - young and old - online access to information on 
early Raynham. 

We hope that you consider our request favorably. Please indicate your permission below 
and return this request in the enclosed self addressed envelope. 

I am including a second copy of this request for your records. 

Best regards, 

Eden Fergussoi?K 

Library Director 

Permission granted 
D Permission granted with the following restrictions: 
□ Permission denied 

Signature: T^h l^tr/,^, ZJ>\. .£,'.& 
Date: .'-' ->A^;r/v,,, /- 

..>*j ' ' i -/ 


Researched and Compiled 


M. Patrice White 


Copyright (?) 1990 M. Patrice White 

Drummond Printing Company 
Taunton, MA 


I. Introduction 1 

II. Raynham - Part of Taunton 3 

III. Separation From Taunton .6 

IV. Ironworks 8 

V. King Philip War 13 

VI. Early Raynham 16 

VII. Famous People 21 

VIM. Industry .27 

IX. Legends .29 

X. Library .32 

XI. Churches 33 

XII. Schools .38 

XIII. Homes and Buildings 47 

XIV. Cemeteries 70 

XV. Memories .71 

XVI. Celebrations 74 

XVII. Veterans and Organizations 80 

XVIII. Renowned Athletes -Then and Now .82 

XIX. Growth/Progress 83 

XX. Town Departments 85 

XXI. Government .86 

XXII. Acknowledgments 90 

XXIII. Bibliography .91 


You are a citizen of the United States of America, a resident of 
the state of Massachusetts, the county of Bristol, and the town of Raynham. 
Whether you were born here, or have just joined us recently, this book 
will help you to know more about the town of Raynham. 

Do you know when we became a town? why we're called Raynham? how 
big we are? how many children go to school here? how many teachers we 
have? or how many people live here? 

Have you ever heard of King Philip, of the Wampanoag Indians, who 
had a home here? Did you know that during the King Philip War the people 
in this area were protected from harm? Have you ever seen the special 
boulder on South Main Street? Do you know what it commemorates? Our 
veterans are honored in several ways. Do you know where or how? 

Do you know how many schools there are in Raynham? how many 
cemeteries? how many churches? We have some very old houses in our town. 
Do you know where they are? 

Have you heard of the large pond that used to be in Raynham, but has 
disappeared? Have you heard some of the myths and legends concerning the 
early days of our town? Does the name Toby Gilmore mean anything to you? 
His story is an interesting part of our history. 

As you begin to learn about Raynham, perhaps some of you will be able 
to share some additional information with us. Does your home or 
neighborhood have some particular significance in the story of our town? 
Do you have an old map, picture, book, or letter that would be of interest? 
Perhaps you have a good story about a person or place in Raynham that would 
add to our enjoyment of finding out about the past. 



The history of Raynham, which was founded in 1731, goes back to the 
history of Taunton, and before that, to the time when this area belonged 
to the Indians. This area was occupied by the Wampanoag Indians who were, 
at one period, one of the most numerous and powerful of the Massachusetts 
tribes of the Algonquin nation. (l:p.6) 

This tract of land was not visited by civilized man until 1621. The 
wilderness was unbroken, with never a sound of a mill or a woodman's axe. 
It was the undisputed domain of the wild beasts and savages. (13) 

In July of 1621, according to Enoch Sanford in his 1870 writings, 
Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins were sent, by the Governor of Plymouth 
Colony, to: 

1. explore this section of the country 

2. visit Massasoit - king of the Wampanoags 

3. ascertain the number of Indians, and 

4. open trade with the Indians. (9:p.l) 

Long before the English arrived in 1620, the region along Taunton 
River was inhabited by many redmen who called Taunton River Titicut River, 
derived from the Indian word "tetuk," meaning a bow or bend, with the "ut" 
signifying the bow or bend was in a river. 

They fished, hunted, and planted corn. Shortly before the Pilgrims 
arrived, the Indians were felled by a disease, and only a few hundred still 
lived. Many fields were abandoned. 

Winslow and Hopkins passed through Middleborough, then an Indian 
town called Nemasket, and arrived at Titicut, where they stayed one night. 
Then they went a few miles down the river- to a fording place near what 
is now Robinson's Bridge. Just as they were going to cross the river, 
they met two old Indians. When the Indians were assured that Winslow and 
Hopkins were friendly, the Indians received the white men with kindness. 

"These were the first Englishmen to set foot on the soil of Raynham, 
coming up what is now Dean Street and across Hill Street. The Indians 
helped them... even carried their luggage." (13) 


As they passed along the southern border of this town by the river, 
they discovered many places which had been inhabited by Indians. As the 
two men walked along, they observed good farm land and good forest land. 
It even reminded them somewhat of their own country, England* 


On their second visit to Taunton, in 1623, Winslow wrote: 

"The ground is very good on both sides, it being for the most 

part cleared. Thousands of men have lived there, which died in a 

great plague not long since. Upon this river dwelleth Massasyt. 

. . .There is much good timber. . . .The country in respect to the lying 

of it is both chamanie and hilly like many places in England. . . . In 

some places it' s very rockie both above ground and in it . And though 

the country be wilde and ever grown with woods, yet the trees stand 

not thicke, but a man may ride a horse amongst them."' (21) 

Friendship was established with Massasoit and the Wampanoags, and 

the first white men lived peacefully with the Indians. They shared the 

land, and the Indians understood this. However, as the white men began 

to settle in the area, they wanted to buy land so that they could own their 

own parcels. Historians today believe that the Indians did not thoroughly 

understand the concept of purchase and ownership, and they did not realize 

that they were losing their land. 

One part of land, originally known as Cohanat, in the colony of New 
Plymouth, was purchased of Massasoit, the Indian Chief, by Elizabeth Pool 
(sic) and her associates. (2:p.l66) 
In 1637, John Winthrop wrote: 
"This year a plantation was begun at Teticutt, by a gentlewoman, 
an ancient maid, one Mrs. Pool." (l:p.3) 

Elizabeth Pole was 49, unmarried, from Dorchester. She was born in 
Devon, near the English country town of Taunton. Taunton, in Gaelic, 
means, "place of quick-running waters." "Cohanat," in the Indian 
language, means the same thing. When Elizabeth Pole called her settlement 


"Taunton," it really was a translation rather than a renaming. (ll:p.9) 
The Pole settlement - "The Titiquet Purchase" - antedated all others 
in this vicinity and led to the founding of this town. Their motto became, 
"Dux femina facti, " which means "a woman was the leader of the deed. " There 
is confusion in records about purchasers and payment. Legend says she 
bought the land for a jackknife and a peck of beans. 

There is also confusion about the name "Taunton." Another source 
states that Taunton is supposed to be pure Gaelic. Taun means "of the 
river." Tauntown means "a town on the river." Taunt own has been 
contracted to Taunton. (21) 

This same source states that Cohanat's Indian translation means "place 
of snows or snowdrifts." 

To quote a page from the Early Raynham History folder at the Raynham 
Public Library, "Since Raynham was a part of the territory known as 
Cohannet, in the colony of New Plymouth - later named Taunton - until it 
became a distinct town in 1731 - the history of Raynham until that date 
is the history of Taunton." (58) 

APRIL 2, 1731- 


One section of Taunton became a thriving area. They were successful 
in farming and industry, but the chief reason for success was the iron 
forge. This iron forge figured prominently in the desire of the people 
in that section of Taunton to separate and to become a distinct town. 

Reasons stated in their petition for separation included dissatisfaction 
because of distance from church and school and the transportation 
difficulties. Residents said that they wanted to separate from Taunton 
and establish their own church. 

However, many historians realize that having one's own meeting house 
and locally elected government were ways of insuring some degree of 
control over the growth of the community and development along rivers. 
Of particular importance for Raynham was control over the bogs from which 
iron ore was dug and over the fertile farm land along the Taunton River. 
Residents of this particularly successful section of Taunton, 
spearheaded by Abraham Jones, petitioned for separation several times. 
On December 8, 1726, the first petition was presented to the House 
of Representatives asking that "these inhabitants be exempt from charges 
for Taunton's meeting house and be set off as a separate precinct from 
Taunton." The petition was dismissed. (40:p.l8) 

In 1728 and again in 1729, petitions were presented. Finally in 
1731, on April 2nd, by an act of General Court, were these words: 

NX . . . that part of the town on the easterly side of the great 
river may be. . .strong and capable to maintain a minister. . .they 
are far more capable than hath been pretended and we judge that 
there were near thirty families on that side of the great river 
that the committee that came to view the town did not then see 
several of them such as are good livers and men of 
considerable estate..." (64) 
Raynham, which at its establishment had just been named, was 
incorporated in 1731 with thirty families - including fourteen family 
names. The original family names were: Leonard, Washburn (e) , King, 
Shaw, Dean, Hall, Gushee, Williams, Gilmore, Andrews, Hathaway, 


White, Tracy, and Knapp . 

Plymouth Colony had been divided into three counties in 1685, and 
Taunton was in the section called Bristol County. Hurd' s 1883 Bristol 
County, Massachusetts gave Raynham' s location as, "northeastern part of 
Bristol County, bounded on the north by Easton, on the east by Bridgewater 
and Middleborough in Plymouth County, and on the south and west by 
Taunton." (5:p.707) 

Perez Fobes, in his 1793 description, had been more specific. ". . .36 
miles south of Boston .. .bounded on the east by Bridgewater, on the west 
by Taunton, on the south by Taunton Great River, on the north by Eastown 
(sic) , Bridgewater, and a part of Nippenicket Pond. . . .eight miles long, 
four and one half miles wide." (2:p.l66) 

Raynham was the tenth town in Bristol County. One of the requirements 
of any new town was to establish a church and have a qualified preacher 
within three years . 


One of the very first tasks the residents of the proposed township 
faced was the selection of a name for their town. At that time, New England 
towns were named for Englishmen of the era. Many of the early settlers 
- particularly the Deans and the Halls - had come from the Raynham, county 
of Norfolk, England area and were admirers of Viscount Charles Townshend. 
Townshend was: a member of the House of Lords, Fellow of the Royal Society, 
Knight of the Garter, a diplomat, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk County, 
Captain of the Guard, and Secretary of State. He had just retired from 
public office in 1730 and was devoting himself to the improvement of 
agriculture, earning himself the nickname "Turnip Townshend." 

The name of the town could be taken from the honored Englishman's 
surname, his title, or his seat of power. The settlers chose Townshend' s 
seat of power, Raynham, as the name for their new town. However, we could 
have been called Viscount or Townshend. There are Raynhams in England, 
some spelled Rainham, but the one for which we are named is the one in 
Norfolk County. 



The most important contributing factor to the success of the section 
of Taunton now called Raynham was the first successful iron works in 
America, established in 1652, long before Raynham became a town. 

Iron works had been established in Saugus in 1647 and before that, 
in Braintree in 1642, but they had not survived for more than two hundred 
years, which is how long the Raynham forge operated. More about that 
later . 

James and Henry Leonard and Ralph Russell, originally from Wales- 
more recently of the Braintree works - came to Taunton in 1652, built a 
home, constructed a furnace, and began to produce iron ware. Iron 
production was the most sophisticated process of its day. The 
^Ironmaster, ' James Leonard, was equal in status to the clergy, who were 
the upper strata of the seventeenth century. 

Elizabeth Pole, the founder of Taunton, was a stockholder in the 1652 
corporation when the iron works was established on Two-Mile River, which 
is now known as Forge River. (22) 

Producing iron ware was a complicated process. 

Colliers were men who specialized in the production of charcoal. 
They cut trees from acres around the furnace, sawed them into suitable 
lengths, and stacked them into a pile. They placed clumps of sod over 
the logs. A fire was started and had to be guarded closely day and night. 
If it burned too fast, it might destroy the charcoal. They couldn't let 
the fire go out, either. The fire had to burn slowly and constantly, baking 
the impurities out of the wood and turning it into pure charcoal. 

The furnace had a 30-foot-high chimney. Wagons backed to the top 
of it, and ore was shoveled directly down the smoke stack. Charcoal was 
placed in the chimney first - then bog ore - then a fluxing agent, like 
seashells, which helped ore separate from dirt. 


Massive blasts from a huge bellows, tripped by a water wheel, 
directed more oxygen into the furnace. Flames from the chimney could be 
seen for miles around. 

After the iron melted, it settled to the bottom of the furnace with 
the impure material known as slag rising to the top. Men raked off the 

They then opened a tap in the bottom of the furnace, and the molten 
iron ran out into a sow, which was a large hole dug in the sand. It trickled 
out of this into small molds, called pigs, where it cooled and hardened. 
The lumps of pure iron were then ready for the chemical change into steel. 
In 1656, a "bloomerie" was built to enable the pig iron to be 
transformed into steel. Men took the pig iron from the sand to the 
bloomerie, a separate shop nearby, which had a gigantic trip hammer 
operated by a water wheel. The trip hammer weighed 500 to 600 pounds. 
(22:p.l2A) The men reheated the pig iron in a hot fire and held it under 
the hammer that bent it into a red-hot pancake shape that glowed with heat, 

Remains of Iron Works, photo circa 1880 

or "bloomed." (12: p. 23) In this process, carbon was combined with the 
iron to make it much stronger so that it would withstand much wear. 

The blooms were then made into nails, spikes, kettles, skillets, 
anchors, chains, and wheel covers. 


In early Taunton, iron bars were used as currency for taxes. School 
teachers and ministers often received iron bars as their salary. People 
saw iron as the only stable measure that kept its value. (16:p.l) 

The value of a sack of oats or a bushel of corn could vary depending 
on whether it was a good or a bad season. If bills were paid in iron, 
it provided some economic security. It was not unusual in those days for 
a farmer to carry 500 pounds of iron in a wagon into town to pay his bills. 
Taunton was considered one of the richest communities after the 
Leonards established the forge. Although forges in other communities had 
failed, this one succeeded. The ores were free for the digging, the 
charcoal only required making, the power came from water wheels, the 
bellows were made from native cowhides, and the iron products found ready 
sale . 

The forge continued for over two hundred years, and ownership passed 
through six generations. During the King Philip War, colliers refused 
to cut wood because they were afraid of the Indians, and the fires went 
out, and the forge did nothing for two years. Thomas Leonard and his 
brother, James Leonard, immediately followed their father in running the 
forge, and the family name was connected with the forge for many years. 
When the iron works was sold to Josiah Dean, he began a nail works 
and a rolling mill. He also manufactured copper bolts to be used in ship 
building. These were the first produced in southeastern Massachusetts 
and were used for the first sloops and frigates of the fledgling U.S. Navy. 
Many years later, in 1825, Josiah Dean's son, Eliab B. Dean, 
inherited the business and converted it to an anchor forge which continued 
to operate until 1873 or 1876 when cheaper Pittsburg steel forced local 


The James Leonard House built in 1653 ( no longer standing) 

iron manufacturers out of business. 

When our ore was gone, we got more from Lake Assawompset, and thus 
we kept fires burning much longer than those in nearby towns. Taunton 
River gave perfect transportation opportunities for export of iron ware 
and later for import of ore when the ore in our immediate area was gone. 
When a second forge was built on the Taunton River, steam tugs brought 
freight up river, entering shops by a lock and a canal. Rev. Enoch Sanford, 
in his 1870 History of Raynham, Massachusetts stated, "the water power 
is not excelled in the county, except at Fall River.'' (9:p.33) 

Reinforcing the belief that the Raynham forge was the first 
successful forge are quotations from two old books. 

Sanford wrote, "In accordance with the Taunton vote, on Oct. 21, 
1652, and the permission granted, the Leonards and Russell erected works 
for the extraction of iron from the native ore, being the first iron 
manufactory established." (5:p.708) 


A book printed in 1901 stated, "The foundation walls alone remain 
of the ancient iron works of 224 years - the oldest successful iron 
manufactory in New England." (61:p.ll) 

We do know that the local forge produced anchors for sea-going 
vessels in Taunton and up and down the coast . We have heard that Civil 
War contracts with the U.S. Navy had us cast several anchors for the 
ironclad Monitor. An 1862 newspaper article said, "We are informed that 
the anchor of the Monitor, which was of peculiar construction, having four 
flukes or hooks, was made at the forge of Theodore Dean, Esq., in the 
adjacent town of Raynham." 


During the Revolutionary War, a chain was swung across the Hudson 
River to prevent the British troops from coming up. That chain was forged 
at the iron works in Raynham, and ten links of the chain are on exhibit 
at the Harmanus Bleeker Museum in Albany, New York. Each link is over 
30 inches long and about 12 inches in circumference. 

In 1976, the U.S. Navy sent an anchor back to Raynham. The anchor 
was placed at the site of the forge, where a boulder with a plaque 
memorializes the successful forge history. The iron forge is also 
memorialized on the official seal of the town of Raynham. 

" The earlier iron forges, in Saugus and Lynn, were fitfully operated 
and were finally abandoned when their owners were harassed with frequent 
lawsuits arising from the overflow of the water in the dam. The fear that 
the works would create a scarcity of timber also appears to have added 
to their unpopularity." (61:p.7) 

Operations were suspended in Braintree in 1653, owing to the scarcity 
of ore . (61 :p. 10) 

These forges, "instead of drawing out bars of iron for the country's 
use, hammered out nothing but contentions and lawsuits." (61:p.7) 

Other iron forges existed, but Raynham' s flourished for over two 
hundred years and is considered by many to be the first successful forge. 




Massasoit, sachem of the Wampanoags, had established peaceful 
relations with the white men, and when he died, Massasoit' s sons Alexander 
(Indian name, Wamsutta) and Philip (Indian name Metacom or Pometacom) 
pledged to keep the peace. This was not easy, however, as the English 
and the Indians struggled for survival and land. At times Philip and his 
men felt humiliated by the English. 

The primary causes of the bloody conflict known as King Philip's War 
go far back of the outbreak of hostilities in 1675. It was undoubtedly 
inevitable, sooner or later. (l:p.34) 

When Philip became sachem of the Wampanoags in 1662, it became 
evident that he was not likely to maintain the friendly relations with 
the English - so firmly established by his father. He was jealous of the 
progress of the settlers in occupation of the lands they had purchased, 
and he early began plotting with the Narragansetts and other Indians for 
their extermination. (l:p.35) 

It took some time before the Indians realized that they were losing 
their land. The Indians did not possess the land in the same sense that 
the white men owned it. The land, the woods, the lakes, the streams, 
belonged to the Indians as they belonged to the birds and the beasts (58) 
They did not realize what they were selling. 

Later, however, the Indians' children realized what possession meant 
to the white man, and they became resentful. They obtained the same kind 
of weapons as the white man used, and when finally the Indians' anger rose 
to fighting pitch, there was a bitter struggle as the Indians were driven 
from their home. (58) 

An early book evidencing sympathy for the Indian included this 

passage. "The savage, the child of a wild environment, knew none of the 

restraints common to the stranger who broke over the horizon of his 

solitude, his freedom of living, and his independence of movement, with 


the advent of that first ship from Plymouth." (10:p.l92) The English, 
uninvited, were trying to take over the land of the New England Indians. 
Anger and resentment had been rising, and when three of Philip' s 
warriors murdered an informer, John Sassamon, and then were themselves 
executed for the murder, Philip's young braves started war. 


Although war had been contemplated, no coordinated plan 
had been worked out. In proportion to population, the King Philip War 
was one of the most costly, in lives, ever fought in North America. Neither 
side had been ready for war. 

Philip became a symbol of the struggle, but he was never really in 
command and might not have been the great leader he was once assumed to 
be. However, he was influential enough to protect the area that is now 
Raynham. Philip had spent many summers at his summer residence on Fowling 
Pond, which was near the Leonards' iron forge. (Fowling Pond has now grown 
up to be woods. It's on King Philip Street near the end of Mill Street.) 
He had become friendly with the Leonards, and they had supplied Philip 
with beef, repaired his muskets, and furnished him with tools. He 
remembered these acts of friendship and gave orders to the warriors that 
they were not to injure any member of the Leonard family. Although the 
King Philip War spread terror and desolation through many towns nearby, 
the inhabitants of Raynham were saved from savage invasion. 

Although the Leonards shared the feelings of friendship with Philip, 
the Leonard house just east of the forge was surrounded by palisades for 
protection and provisioned, just in case. (5:p.708) 

Three towns which were not in the path of destruction - Barnstable, 
Yarmouth, and Eastham - invited people from this area to leave their 
settlements and live with them. The local residents refused the kind offer 
because it would "betray much difficulty and cowardice." (9:p.6) These 
records disclose the character of the men. Their leading object was to 
maintain the truths and institutions of the Christian religion, and in 


pursuing this, they could bear danger and hardships with indomitable 
fortitude. (9:p.6) 

The white men lived in fear of Indian attack. "By day, or by night, 
no white man was safe. As the white man ploughed or reaped, the fences 
along his fields were the crouching places of his inveterate enemy. The 
thickets by the roadside were likely at any moment to breathe forth a wisp 
of musket smoke when the fatal bullet would speed to his heart." 

Shortly before Philip' s death, his wife and nine year old son were 
taken prisoners by the English, an event that crushed the heart and life 
of the sachem. (l:p.42) 

On Saturday, August 12th, early in the morning, Philip was shot by 
a faithless Indian, and Captain Church cut off his head, and it was carried 
on a pole to Plymouth. 


Present Day Wampanoags 

There are still some Wampanoag Indians in this area. At one of their 
New Year' s celebrations in Middleboro, they emphasized the importance of 
cooperation and communication among people of all races. 

Lightning Foot, a tribal leader, said, "There is only one race, 
the human race, and we are all members." (26) 

The Wampanoag New Year is celebrated around May 1 because the 
nature-loving Wampanoags believed that life returned to the earth at 
that time. 

The group expressed the desire that a study of the American 
Indian be a part of every school curriculum, and they felt that the 
American Indian is entitled to a national holiday. 




The Raynham area was described by Perez Fobes in his 1793 history 
of Raynham as having "level smooth land, with few hills and excellent 
roads . " 

The chief crops were rye and Indian corn. The farmers raised plenty 
for themselves and for market. 

The many trees which grew in the area included oak, walnut, maple, 
birch, elm, pine, cedar, locust, spruce, beech, buttonwood, hornbine, and 
sassafras. Sassafras was used extensively for posts and construction 
because it was found to be "the most incorruptible of any wood hitherto 
known." (2: p. 167) 

Early inhabitants' thoughts about the value of trees changed from 
time to time. At first, "when meadows were all occupied, the early 
settlers hacked upon the forests till they had cleared new fields. The 
trunks and limbs were rubbish, and the stumps were obstacles to be 
painfully removed. Such pioneers had little thought for shade trees." 

Perez Fobes commented, "The large quantities of coal consumed in 
carrying on the iron manufacture . . . has, within a few years past, greatly 
enhanced the value of wood. 

Upon the northerly part of the town, there is a large and valuable 
tract of cedar swamp, and towards the center are two considerable tracts 
more. The one is called the dead, and the other, the Titicut Swamp." 

During the King Philip War, men at work in the field could be ambushed 
by Indians who were hiding behind trees. 

Following the Civil War, emphasis was placed on forest cultivation. 
The farmers showed what could be done in forest raising, on worn out land 
that would not otherwise pay for plowing, by devoting a few spare hours 


to that occupation from year to year. Once again, people realized the 
value of trees. 

The Taunton River provided good transportation as inhabitants sent 
products to Fall River, along the coast, or across the ocean. It also 
provided water to put out fires. There were herring in the river, and 
they used seine fishing to catch them. Besides the river, there were many 
streams which provided good water power for water wheels . (2 : p. 167) These 
were good spots for six saw mills, three grist mills, one furnace, a forge, 
and one fulling mill. 

There were three ponds: a pond with a two mile circumference on the 
east side, Forge and Fowling Pond on the west, and Nippaniquit (or 
Nippahonsit) Pond on the north dividing us from Bridgewater. 
Fareall, Smooch and Steep were the three major hills. 

The first meeting house was built one fourth of a mile east of the 
forge on the north side of the road leading to Squawbetty. It was a very 
plain structure, built for $1400, and had no blinds, steeple, bell, or 
stoves. Rev. John Wales was hired as the first minister and preached there 
for over thirty years. This first meeting house was built in 1731 and 
was used until 1771. 

A second meeting house was built in 1773 on land purchased from 
Amariah Hall. (9:p.l4) It was built in the center of town, near the 
intersection of two roads, three miles from the county courthouse. It 
had an elegant steeple. 

Fobes wrote that in 17 94 two hundred families, which numbered one 
thousand people, attended services. He said that Raynham was a good place 
to live, citing one family with five brothers and one sister, whose ages 
together added to more than five hundred years. 

The people were mostly farmers, mechanics, traders, and professionals . 
Forges manufactured bar iron, hollow ware, nails, irons for vessels, iron 
shovels, and shingles. The citizens were unquestionably industrious, 
enterprising people. Many worked at the iron forge, which had been founded 
by the Leonards . 

According to Fobes, "The circumstance of a family attachment to the 
iron manufacture is so well known as to render it a common observation 


in this part of the county, viz, where you can find iron works, there you 
will find a Leonard. " (2 :p . 175) 


The people in this area were considered to "live in one of the most 
patriotic towns in the state." (2:p.l69) Our militia heard that a group 
was going to prevent a sitting of the October Court of 1786. Although 
they had only two small companies, they marched alone to Taunton, where 
they sat with arms all night before the court. The court sat! ! They were 
the only companies to appear from all of Bristol County. They had stood 
firm but alone until the next morning, when troops under the command of 
General Cobb came and helped to crush the insurrection. They had remained 
that night in open defiance of all the bloody threats of an outrageous 
mob . 

"On the last regimental muster at Taunton, the equipment and military 
appearance of the two Raynham companies met with distinguished 
approbration (sic) from the inspecting general; by him they were 
pronounced equal to any in the state." (2:p.l70) Raynham had just cause 
to be proud of the militia! 

The Leonards were probably the best known people of Raynham at that time, but 
the name of King Philip was famous, too. He had once lived there, and 
people talked about where he had lived, and had walked, and had bought 
beef and iron. 

The Leonards were known for: longevity, promotion to public office, 
and their attachment to iron manufacture. (The Leonard name has continued 
to be well-known in Raynham. One of the items of interest in 1931 was 
that George Leonard, Raynham selectmen chairman, was a direct descendant 
of James Leonard.) 

In 1773 Perez Fobes instructed languages, literature, arts and 
sciences. There were a library, six schools, four college graduates 
(men), and six were attending college. 

Residents in 1988 refer to North Raynham, Raynham Center, and South 


Raynham. When Raynham was first established, there were five villages. 

1. Gilmore Village, near the depot of the Old Colony Railroad, 
had forty or fifty houses. 

2. Prattville, which was one mile south, was described as a 
prosperous village. 

3. Squawbetty was the principal center of iron manufacture. 

4. The village about the Baptist Church, in south Raynham, had 
some of the best farms. 

5. The village at the center had two churches, a post office, a 
store, and "numerous inhabitants and their dwellings." 

The Toll House on Broadway (Route 138) 



There used to be a toll house on Broadway (Route 138) , near the 
Taunton line, where a fee was collected from those herding cattle down 
the Taunton Turnpike from the Brighton stockyards to areas of southeastern 
Massachusetts . 

The Old Colony Line provided Boston to Fall River train service through 

Rev. Sanford wrote, "Our fathers laid out no space for a common. Land 
was in such abundance that it seemed incredible that the time should ever 
come when there would be less of it than the public convenience required." 

Although Perez Fobes, in 1793, wrote that Raynham had excellent 
roads, Rev. Sanford, in 1870, wrote, "A loamy soil and the insufficient 
supply of good gravel prevents many of the roads of the town from being 
at all times of the year, models for imitation. The heavy transportation 
over the main avenue of this town, leading from Taunton to Bridgewater, 
makes the task of keeping it in repair a difficult one." 




Rev. John Wales, who was established as Raynham' s first minister, 
soon after Raynham became a town, preached there for over thirty years. 
He married Hazadiah Leonard, daughter of Samuel Leonard, and granddaughter 
of James Leonard. 

Prudence Wales, daughter of Hazadiah and John, married Perez Fobes, 
who later became a Raynham minister. 

Nancy Fobes, daughter of Prudence and Perez Fobes, married Simeon 
Doggett, who became a Raynham minister. 

Rev. Perez Fobes (b. September 21, 1741) was the second minister of 
Raynham and its most famous minister. He was a Harvard graduate, and, 
soon after he became the Raynham minister, he started a school at home. 
It is said that the schools in Raynham during Dr. Fobes' ministry were 
of a higher order than in adjacent towns. He was well-read and a successful 
orator. He wrote a history of the town of Raynham in 1793. 

Rev. Enoch Sanford was the fourth Raynham minister. He was ordained 
on Oct. 2, 1823 with a unanimous vote, $500.00 salary, and the use of the 
parsonage. He married Caroline White of Weymouth. "Before the era of 
railroads, when all travelling was by horses and much of it by private 
conveyance, the parsonage was a center of hospitality for clergymen and 
friends passing that way." (6:p.45) He wrote History of Raynham. 
Massachusetts - from the first settlement to the present time - in 1870. 
Rev. Simeon Doggett became pastor of the Second Congregational 
Church in 1828 and stayed for over twenty years. "He was far in advance 
of the other educators of that day and was an advocate for giving females 
the same advantages for instruction with the other sex." 

Mr. Fisher was the first schoolmaster recorded in town reports. No 

first name was given, only the year of his employment - 1742. 

The first settlers of Raynham included fourteen family names. 

1. Leonard - They were founders of the iron forge and holders of 


public office. 

2. Washburn (e) - The name Washburn (e) was famous through several 
generations. One Israel Washburn was Raynham' s delegate to ratify the 
Constitution. Members of the Washburn family became members of Congress 
from three different states, Governor of Maine, Secretary of State, 
representative to the General Court, a member of the Minutemen, and, 
locally the owner of a successful grist mill. 

3. Dean. The Hon. Josiah Dean - Congressman - was a leading man 
in his town and county. He was elected to Congress early in the 18th 
century . 

4. King, 5. Shaw, 6. Hall, 7. Gushee, 8. Williams, 9. Gilmore, 
10. Andrews, 11. Hathaway, 12. White, 13. Tracy, 14. Knapp . 

Abraham Jones was the principal advocate of separation from Taunton, 
and his name was first on the petition. His son, Timothy Jones, built 
a home on what is now Pleasant Street in 1700. His home was one-half mile 
northeast of the church. In 1988 his home is occupied by the Milliken 
family and is referred to in the section on homes, in this book. 

Abraham Hathaway fought in the Revolutionary War, and he was one of 
Raynham' s first town clerks. One Abraham Hathaway started a book bindery 
which later became the nucleus of the Davol Printing House, which still 
exists. His home is described in another section. 

Amariah Hall, born in 1758 on South Main Street, gave music lessons 
and also wrote many hymns which are still sung. The tunes are his, and 
the words were taken from several biblical and contemporary sources. 

Nathan Shaw was a member of the Raynham School Committee for twenty- 
eight years and then was the Superintendent of Schools in 1875. He married 
Sarah King, daughter of J. King, an inventor. 

Seth Dean volunteered at age 17 to be a Revolutionary War soldier. 
He was in the first campaign of the war and at the Battle of Bunker Hill, 
as well as with the troops when the British evacuated Boston. He saw the 
British board their ships and leave the harbor. Then Washington marched 
in with his forces and took possession of the town. 

Cuff Leonard was a black citizen of Raynham who served in the 


Revolutionary War. He was brought up by the family of Capt . Joshua 
Leonard, whose surname he was given. He was referred to as a citizen 
because he was given his freedom because of his military service. 


Toby Gilmore, who was the son of a local chieftain, lived until his 
teens in Africa. His name was Shibodee Turrey Wurry. 

One day in the 1750' s, he and his friends were "gathering cocoas" 
from a tree and were ambushed by American slave traders. His friends got 
away, but he was in the tree, and he was captured. The slave traders 
kidnapped him and smuggled him aboard their ship which was headed for 
Virginia . 

The captured Africans were crammed below deck. Slave quarters were 
usually three and one-half feet high. The males were shackled together 
in pairs, with the left ankle of one shackled to the right ankle of the 
next, with a yoke iron stapled to the planking between them. Women and 
children were crowded behind a screen, but they were not chained. 

"The slaves were fed ten at a time, twice a day, with slabber sauce, 
which was made of flour, water, palm oil and pepper. At times all of the 
slaves were brought out on deck in handcuffs, while the crew went below 
to swab out the quarters with vinegar." (6:p.32) 

The trip across the Atlantic was not an easy one, because the ship 
was heavily damaged by storms, and it put into the harbor at Newport, Rhode 
Island for repairs. The ship's master sold some of his slaves to finance 
the work. 

Captain John Gilmore, of Raynham, purchased Shibodee Turrey Wurry 
on the slave block and renamed him Toby Gilmore. It was common then for 
a slave to take the family name of his master. 

Toby became close to Capt. Gilmore and his wife, who had no children. 

Mrs. Gilmore taught Toby to read and write. He was raised in an atmosphere 

of love and respect and was given responsibility on the family farm. 

On Sept. 16, 1776, Capt. Gilmore, then seventy years old, was 


drafted. "The thirty year old, muscular, 5 feet 3 inches tall slave 
volunteered to serve in his master's place, and in return he was granted 
his freedom." (47) 


Legends and records of Toby's service conflict. Legend says that 
Toby was assigned to the staff of General David Cobb, a Taunton officer 
who was serving on General Washington's staff. Washington was impressed 
by Toby's efficiency and loyalty, so he asked Toby to be his own servant. 
Enoch Sanford says that Toby was George Washington's aide. (9:p.43) 

Legend also claims that Gilmore crossed the Delaware River with 
Washington in December of 1776 and was with Washington during the winter 
at Valley Forge. 

However, records show that Toby was with Captain Jonathan Shaw's 
company on duty in Warren, Rhode Island when Washington crossed the 
Delaware. No records show that Toby served with General Cobb, either. 

But there are no records for Toby between June 15, 1781, and Sept. 
21, 1781 and General Cobb was assigned to General Washington's staff on 
June 15, 1781, so there is a remote possibility that Toby was with 
Washington and Cobb. 

Who knows? Toby came back with wonderful stories, and it's difficult 
to separate imagination from fact. 

Toby returned to civilian life on December 6, 1781. He saved his 
money, and a few years later, bought 45-50 acres of land formerly owned 
by John Borland, a Tory descendant of Elizabeth Pole. During the American 
Revolution, Borland's sympathies had been with the British, and because 
of this, he had to run for his life. 


Toby married Rosannah Hack and they had eight children. His first 


house, which still stands on Broadway, was built around 1784. It was "a 
plank affair with 12 inches by 12 inches corner posts and beams, planks 
nailed vertically into place both on the exterior and in dividing the 
rooms. The kitchen had a beehive oven and a chimney which had four 
fireplaces, in various rooms." 

Toby built another house later, but it burned in 1918. 
Legend says that Toby planted an oak tree in this front yard. There 
is a massive oak at least 200 years old, there today, so maybe it is the 
Toby oak. 

Legend says that Toby was presented a cannon when he left the service, 
by General Washington, in appreciation for his faithful service. Fact 
indicates that he did have an old cannon. 

The cannon was kept on the front lawn, and Taunton supposedly used 
the cannon in their 1876 festivities. Each year before he died Toby 
Gilmore would put on his uniform and haul the cannon to Taunton Green, 
where he loaded and fired it fourteen times. Thirteen salutes were for 
the original states, and the last and loudest was for General Washington. 



The Toby Gilmore cannon is on display in the Military Room of the 
Old Colony Historical Society on Church Green in Taunton. Also on display 
is the front panel of Toby Gilmore' s hat. His uniform is no longer 

A grant from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities 
made the restoration of the front panel of the hat possible in 1986. It 
is framed behind glass and is currently displayed on the wall to the 
immediate left of the door into the Military Room. The words "Federalism 
and Liberty" are embroidered across the front panel of the hat. Ms. 
Compton, of the Old Colony Historical Society, says she thinks those words 
were added later because federalism wasn't a prevalent idea at the time 
of the Revolution. 

Toby's children and grandchildren settled near Toby's home, and 
Gilmoreville became the black section of town. The Toby Gilmore family 
became farmers and were well-respected as industrious people who were good 
citizens . 

Toby died on April 19, 1812, and Toby and some of his descendants 
were buried at the North Raynham Cemetery. 

Toby Gilmore gave over two and one half years to the fight for 
liberty, serving ably and well, and for that he deservedly takes his place 
among the Revolutionary War heroes of Raynham. (12:p.31) 



Early forge workers produced cart tires, axes, chimney cranes, 
andirons, hooks, spikes, nails, chains, ploughshares, bolts, shovels, and 
iron wire. (9:p.32) 


Jobs listed by Sanford in his 1870 book on Raynham include: teachers, 
ministers, carpenters and builders, iron workers, tanners, bankers, 
neighborhood storekeepers, postmaster, physicians, justices of the 
peace, mill workers, sheriffs, and shoe workers. (9:pp. 29, 30, 31) 

Sanford said that shoe manufacturing had advanced, by 1870. "The 
work of making shoes was formerly carried on in isolated shops where a 
few persons conducted the whole process by hand. Machinery and organized 
labor have superseded the old method." (9:p. 34) 

In 1840 there was an increase in industry in Raynham with the opening 
of the railroad from Boston to New Bedford. The railroad station was in 
North Raynham, and in the later years of the trolleys, a large trestle 
was built over the railroad tracks on Broadway. 

Around the same time, shoe shops, tack factories, and a box factory 
were added to the existing iron works and mills. 

Along the Taunton River, a steam tugboat carried freight by way of 
a lock and canal. 

The author of a 1970 article in the "Advocate" reinforces the idea 
of the importance of the iron forges. "What the iron mills produced, to 
till the soil, build houses, outfit ships, and hold a fledgling nation 
together is impossible to measure in tonnage." (16) 

In addition to agriculture - gardens and milk - some worked at herring 
fishing or in a blacksmith and wheelwright shop. 

After the World War I Armistice, many in Raynham were in local 


industry and farmers, but some went to the neighboring towns of Middleboro 
and Bridgewater. 

Large farms have given 
way to subdivisions and 
condominiums. The 
Hutchinson duck farm, which 
was operated for over fifty 
years and was one of the 
largest employers in town, 
is now Lakeview Drive. The 
Viles poultry farm is now 
condominiums on North Main 
street. A dairy farm was 
once situated where the 
housing subdivision called 
Pleasant field is now 
In 1968, 102 firms in Raynham reported to the Massachusetts Division 
of Employment Security that they employed about 1,121 persons. The 
wholesale and retail trades had 58.4, per cent and service industries 
accounted for 20.6 per cent of the employees. Seven manufacturing firms 
reported 65 persons on their payroll. Dog racing at Raynham Park in North 
Raynham added a seasonal economic factor. 

In 1978, Attorney Paull Cushman said, "On the south end of town is 
the catalyst which will determine Raynham' s future. The turning point 
in the town may be what happens to the Bay Colony land. The 350 acres 
of land, owned by the Bay Colony Shopping center, is the largest and the 
best located piece of land in the town." (29) 

In 1988 retail/merchandising accounts for 57 per cent of our economy. 
Route 44 provides most of that employment. Service industry ranks second, 
with 23 per cent. 

The Bay Colony land is finally being developed and will provide a 
variety of jobs to area workers 



Before the King Philip War there was a large pond - two miles long 
and three-quarters of a mile wide. Fobes, in his 1793 history, expressed 
confusion. Somehow the pond had completely disappeared between the King 
Philip years in the mid 1600' s and the Dr. Fobes era of 1793. 


Rev. Fobes was convinced that the pond had existed. He listed reasons 
for his belief. 1.) white floor sand, 2.) smooth, water-washed stones, 
3.) large supply of Indian spears, tools, pots, proving that natives did 
thickly settle that area, 4.) a 90 year old man then (1793-94) remembered 

canoeing and fishing there. (2:p.l72) Fowling Pond did exist! 
The area is now swampy, filled 

with huge trees, cedar and pine. 
Where did the pond go? In a bit more 
than one-hundred years, could trees 
have grown to fifty feet in height? 
How could such enormous trees have 
"sprung into existence"? People do 
not think organic matter would have 
filled in so fast. True, other ponds 
have disappeared, but smaller 
vegetation like high bush blueberries 
and slim sapling maples have taken 
over . 



One possible explanation has been offered. When Route 44 was built 
during excavation near the Raynham line, workers found an earthquake fault 
with volcanic stone pushed up through. Does it seem possible that some 
of this pond, which disappeared so quickly and became a swamp filled with 
huge trees so rapidly, could have seeped away into that crack, perhaps 
to burst forth someday? One problem with that solution is that no one 
knows how deep or how long that crack was, nor in which direction it lay. 
Another suggestion is that a great storm cut a swath through the 
embankment on King Philip Street and drained the pond. There is nothing 
left of the pond but the tall trees rising from a murky swamp. (53) 

Another legend referred to in material in the Raynham Public Library 
mentions Tracy's Corner at what is now the Main Mill Shopping Center. 
" . . . where you didn't dare cross, for if you did, you would be in serious 
trouble" (due to old family feuds) . 

Another legend deals with King Philip's head. Fobes said, referring 
to the Leonard House near the forge, "In the cellar was deposited, for 
a considerable time, the head of King Phillip." (5:p.708) Young men and 
women of the area were supposedly invited to view the chief s head, and 
the men showed their bravery while the girls practiced their shrieking 
and fainting. Another version of the story states that the Leonards did 
keep King Philip's head, but to protect it, not display it. History is 
unclear as to whether the head was in the Leonard home before or after 
it was taken to Plymouth. 

Fobes added to the legend by writing, "Under the door steps of the 
same house lie buried the bones of two young women who were killed, in 
flight, by Indians." (5:p.708) 

The Hockomock Swamp in north Raynham has been the setting for a legend 
involving Big Foot. 

Raynham, England has at least one famous legend. The Boston Sunday 
Globe featured the story. Perhaps the solidest of British ghosts is the 
famous "brown lady" of Raynham Hall, home of the Marquess of Townsend, 
who has actually been photographed. 

George Meegan, a resident of Rainham, Kent, England is on his 


way to becoming a legend. In 1977, he walked 19, 017 miles from the southern 
tip of South America to the top of Alaska. It took him seven years and 
four months as he crossed fourteen countries. His achievement has been 
certified by the Guinness Book of World Records . On his leg he has a 
tattoo - a map of his route. (55) (That's not "our" Raynham. We're from 
County Norfolk, not County Kent!) 

Evidence seems to indicate that early residents were involved in the 
Underground Railway. (6:p.34) There were two possible hiding places for 
fugitives who stayed at the Toby House. One small area between the chimney 
system would have offered ideal concealment . Also in the crawl space under 
the house, there is, under the chimney, a type of stone room with shelves 
niched into the rocks. 

There is a house on South Main Street which has a secret passageway 
beside the chimney leading up to the attic where Negro slaves were hidden 
during the Civil War days. It is also believed that that house had a secret 
hiding place between the first and second floors of the front hallway. 
In addition, a girl in the 1840' s - Sarah Hathaway - wrote in her journal 
that she was going to the church to hear a lecture by a runaway slave. 
Virginia Cole Bellamy of Mansfield, who once lived in the Hathaway House, 
has in her possession the original diary of Sarah Hathaway. It was started 
in 1841 and kept, sporadically, into the 1870' s. 

Reportedly, a hidden tunnel ran from the basement of a house on Judson 
Street - under that street - to a "crypt-like thing" on the opposite side 
of the street. Records state that this was used in the underground 
railway . 




Early Raynham residents recognized the value of reading. On April 
7 , 1888, ninety-three citizens signed the first library report. It read, 
"We, the undersigned of Raynham, wishing to add to the educational 
advantages of the town, and knowing how great the need is of a well- 
equipped library that shall be free, under proper conditions, to every 
person regardless of sex, creed, or color, do hereby form ourselves into 
an association for the purpose of establishing and maintaining such a 
library, and we individually and collectively agree to aid and assist the 
objects of this association to the best of our ability." (6:p.l4) 

The library was first located in Dean Hall, on Johnson's Pond. Later 
it was housed in the town "Tramp House, " near the site of the present town 
buildings. The present building was completed in 1949; the lower floor 
became the Children's Room in 1961; the building was expanded to its 
present size in 1971. The Library Association is run by a board of 
directors headed by a president. When the library was erected in 1949, 
it contained 8500 books. In 1988 there are 27,275 books. 

Since 1903, the dog tax has been a continuing source of revenue. 

Circulation figures indicate that the library is a busy place. 

1916 - 3,752 1971 - 32,072 1988 - 34,847 

On June 11, 1988, the annual Children's Birthday Party was 
celebrated. The theme was, "History - 100 Years Ago," in conjunction with 
the library's centennial celebration of its establishment in 1888. 
Children came in costume of characters of history. Sally Caputo and Kathi 
Voller, of the newly formed Friends of the Raynham Library group, were 
chairmen, and Ellen Ranney, children's librarian, awarded the prizes. 
Featured in the party's activities were a parade, refreshments, pony 
rides, face painting, thumb printing, and an old-fashioned penny candy 
store. In addition to Mrs. Ranney, the director, there are five more 
librarians. They are Marie Ventura, Lorna Sylvia, Barbara Dean, Joanne 
Cain, and Jean Ryan. The president of the Library Board is Robert Newton. 



When Raynham became a town, it was required by law that they establish 
a church and a school. The first meeting house was built on Richmond Street 
- the road by Squawbetty (East Taunton) . That meeting house was not far 
from the Leonard iron forge. John Wales, who was married to James 
Leonard's granddaughter, became the first minister. The church was plain, 
but it served the needs of its parishioners. 

In 1832, two new churches were built - a Congregational Church in 
Raynham center and the first Baptist Church in south Raynham. The wooden 
Congregational Church burned in 1912, and the stone church was built at 
the intersection of the main streets in town. The North Raynham 
Congregational Church was built in 1875. A Unitarian Church met near 
Johnson's pond in the early 1800' s, and the newest church, St. Ann's Roman 
Catholic Church, was started in 1960 when Masses were celebrated in 
Gilmore Hall. In March, 1961, the first Mass was celebrated in the lower 
hall of the new church, and the solemn blessing of St. Ann's Church was 
on July 16, 1961. Rev. Leo Sullivan was the first pastor. 

First Congregational Church built near the Iron Forge 


The Stone Congregational Church built in 1912 

In the early days, each time a new church was formed, persons withdrew 
from one church to join another. The first Congregational Church had 
fifteen male and seventeen female members. The church was the meeting 
house, and only church members could vote. 

In an unpublished paper by Lillian O'Brien in the Raynham history 
folder in the Raynham Public Library, the right to vote is explained. "In 
the days when this country was first settled by devout church members, 
only these could vote on town business. Since new church members could 
come only from families already church members, the right to vote became 
an exclusive and much sought-after privilege. 

In the time of the Revolution, state and church were by law completely 
separated." (63) 

In 1875, twenty-one men and women from North Raynham began to hold 
services in Gilmore Hall because the nearest church was at the center of 
Raynham, and that was too far to walk. Their first minister was Rev. 
Charles Thurston. Martin Luther Hall, who was born in Raynham, left money 


North Raynham Congregational Church built in 1875 

in his will to purchase land and build a church. It was dedicated in 
November of 1876, and the people in the north section had their church. 

It was not uncommon when a new church was built to sell pews to the 
parishioners. When the Congregational Church was built in the center of 
town, Israel Washburn sold pews to help with the expenses. The first four 
Congregational ministers were John Wales, Perez Fobes, Stephen Hull and 
Enoch San ford. 

The Baptist Church, built in 1832, had .a 150th celebration in 1982. 
When the parishioners themselves built an addition, a quote in the Raynham 
Public Library folders expressed how people felt. "Dedication is what 
they are calling the event scheduled for the First Baptist Church tomorrow 
afternoon, and the term can be used either to describe what they are doing 
to a new building there or to the attitude of the parishioners . " (57 :p. 9) 

Previous to the building of the Baptist Church, services were held 
at the home of Asa King, on what is now Hill Street. Two rooms of his 
house were furnished with low benches for seats. 


Baptist Church built in 1832 

When the Taunton River was surveyed, the Coast and Geodetic 
Surveyors, who are responsible for surveying rivers, placed a permanent 
marker in the steeple. Surveyors always use brass markers in concrete 
or stone, but the unusual feature of this marker is that it is a nail 
painted red. This marker is one of three used in locating the Town of 


St. Ann's Catholic Church built in 1961 

Churches have continued to be an important part of the lives of 
Raynham residents as St. Ann's joins the list of churches which have had 
to expand their facilities. St. Ann's is now conducting a drive to fund 
a free-standing church hall, which will be built beside the church. 




Education has always been a priority with Raynham citizens. When 
the town was first established, the locations of the schools varied yearly 
as the schools were held wherever there was the largest concentration of 
students. At about the time of the Revolution in 1789, the town was divided 
into eight districts, and the first real school houses were built, one 
in each district. 

In the school year 1872-1873, there were 286 children in the schools. 
North - 31, Tracy - 30, Prattville -28, Gushee - 19, Center - 37, East 

- 24, South Grammar - 34, South Primary - 61, Gilmore - 22. 

In 1971-1972, about one hundred years later, there were five schools 
in town, and our high school students attended the nearby Bridgewater 
Raynham Regional High School. North - 105, Center - 146, South - 117, 
Lille B. Merrill - 511, and Junior High - 640, a total of 1,519 students 
in those schools. Bridgewater Raynham: 9th grade - 152, 10th - 160, 11th 

- 139, 12th - 117 - a final total of 2,087 Raynham students. In addition, 
some Raynham students chose to attend Bristol County Agricultural School, 
Bristol Plymouth Regional Vocational High School, or Coyle Cassidy High 
School . 

In 1865, some boys were reprimanded in the town report. "Some small 

boys at the commencement of the school were obstreperous and unmannerly, 

by hanging on behind carriages passing, using improper language; some 

times horses were frightened and missiles thrown. Bursting out of school 

uproarously (sic) , so as to excite in travellers a fear for their horses, 

is to be corrected by both parents and teachers." (67:p.4) The School 

Committee that same year was concerned about salaries. "Women teachers 

earn $3.75 a week. Girls in the weaving or spinning rooms of factories 

receive higner wages." (67:p.8) 

Students today would find it difficult to understand one of the 

policies stated in the 1868 town report, "...fifteen minute recess each 


half day for each scholar. In no case shall boys and girls have their 
recess at the same time." 

One item in the 1876 town report expressed concern that there had 
been twenty-five deaths - mostly from pneumonia and consumption. 

Nathan Shaw, the first school superintendent, was outspoken on 
several issues when he submitted his report. "Town meeting instructed 
the School Committee to choose a superintendent of schools. It also 
expressed its desire to have the labor performed for the enormous sum of 
one hundred dollars. Accepting the office under these circumstances, I 
have endeavored to perform as little labor as possible and come within 
the requirements of the law. Still, I have written in the interest of 
the schools, 57 letters, and made 121 regular visits." (69) 

The most important problem facing Nathan Shaw, the first superintendent 
in 1876, was poor attendance. "There is a reluctance and a disposition 
to rebel on the part of some parents, against the rules requiring an excuse 
for absence or tardiness. In thus opposing one of the regulations which 
is absolutely necessary to the well-being of the whole, do you not know 
your act is an indirect attempt to destroy the good influence of the 
teacher and finally ruin the school? 

The matter of compulsory attendance at school is attracting the 
attention of all educators, of all those who look forward to the prolonged 
good and growth of our nation." (69) 

Hattie W. Lincoln was the first woman elected to the Raynham School 
Committee in that same year - 1876. 

In 1877, when there were 325 students in Raynham, the town report 
stressed that medals were given to the students for excellence in 
attendance and deportment . 

The School Department has always been concerned with budget . "Four 

years ago. . .Raynham stood number three among the nineteen towns in Bristol 

County, in the amount raised for the education of each child. We are now 

at number sixteen. We do not ask to have our town take the lead of all 

the towns in Bristol County, but we do think the people of Raynham should 

not be satisfied with a position so far below the average." (39:p.l6) 

The year was 1879. 


Nathan Shaw, who was still the Superintendent of Schools in 1882, 
indicated that discipline was a problem in the schools, and asked the 
mothers to think more about supporting the teachers in their attempts to 
have the children behave properly. 

"Place yourself, Mother, in the teacher's position, only for one day. 
What an amount of labor is required of them that you do not see. You then 
will perhaps have a faint realization of some of the trials to which a 
teacher's life is subject. You think it a difficult matter to obtain order 
with your few children at home, long for night to come, that the ceaseless 
tumult may be hushed, that your aching head may know the blessing of a 
quiet house. But how with the teacher? Do you strive to lighten the heavy 
burdens that fall upon her shoulders, compared with which yours are about 
a feather's weight? Do you give her your kindly encouragement by a good 
word now and then, by frequent visits of sympathy, and by persistent 
endeavors that no children of yours shall annoy or dishearten her? If 
you do, you are doing much to provide for the present welfare of the town 
and the future prosperity of the town." 

Three pages of the 1883 town report were devoted to the number of 
words spelled correctly by each student and the percentage of words 
spelled correctly in each school . For instance, at the North School, 8,340 
words were spelled. Of those, 7, 611 were spelled correctly. The per cent 
for the school was an admirable 91 per cent. At the other schools, the 
percentages were: Tracy - 96, Prattville - 94, Gushee - 85, Center Grammar 
- 87, Center Primary - 92, South Elementary - 91, and South Grammar - 95. 
In her unpublished paper titled "The Development of the Raynham 
School System Through the Nineteenth Century," Margaret L. McGuire noted 
that early school reports in the town reports commended good teachers and 
reprimanded those who were not successful. (62) 

She also noted that the 1896 report gave the information, "...New 
adjustable seats and desks were installed. Previously, there had been 
but four sizes of desks while many sizes of children were expected to 
occupy them." 

In 1922 on March 25, the town meeting voted to appropriate a sum of 
money to build a school in north Raynham. Finally in 1925, the town voted 


North School built on Baker Road in 1927 

$30,000 for the North School. Occupancy took place about 1927. (44) 

On March 21, 1931, the town meeting voted to have a committee bring 
in plans and specifications for a four-room school for south Raynham to 
replace the large wood-framed school. On April 25, 1931, it was voted 
to construct the building at a cost of $29,000. (44) There are now six 
classrooms. One unique factor in the construction of South School was 
that one section of the main floor was movable and could be raised or 
lowered, similar to the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York. 
However, the floor has been stationed and secured at one level for many 


years. Miss J. B. Goodick, long-time South School principal, was an 
example of the finest teachers of her time. 

The First South School 

South School built in 1931 

The original Center School on South Main Street was destroyed by fire 
in the winter of 1918. At a town meeting in the spring of 1919, the voters 
decided with a 22-3 vote to erect a new school at a cost of $16,000. 
Students entered the building in the fall of 1920, and the impressive brick 
building became a source of pride to Raynham citizens. The school is now 
called the Sullivan School. 

The Center School built in 1920, now called The William J. Sullivan School 

In 1957, the Pleasant Street School was built. The Raynham Junior 
High was built in 1965 close to the Pleasant Street School. In I960, 
Raynham became a member of the Bridgewater Raynham Regional School 
District, sharing construction costs of a new high school to be built in 
the neighboring town of Bridgewater. Dr. E. Joseph LaLiberte became the 
first full-time school superintendent for Raynham. The name Barbara 
Sullivan, who was principal of the Pleasant Street School, was synonymous 
with discipline and a drive for excellence in education. Miss Sullivan 
retired in 1969. 


The Pleasant Street School, now known as the Lillie B. Merrill School , built in 1957 

In 1966, an appreciation dinner was held for Lillie B. Merrill, who 
was referred to in the program as "Raynham' s gracious lady." She and her 
husband and their two children had moved to Raynham in 1925. She was 
elected to the offices of Town Clerk and Town Treasurer in 1928 by 58 
ballots. She served these offices until March, 1966. Until the town 
office building was constructed in 1957, she made her home her office. 
She was also the town accountant and a Justice of the Peace. In her years 
of office, she recorded 1299 marriages and 2171 births. Everyone in 
Raynham knew her, and now what used to be the Pleasant Street School bears 
the name of Lillie B. Merrill. 

In 1981, announcement was made that Proposition 2 1/2 necessitated 
the "mothballing" of the North and South Schools. (44:p.9) Dr. E. Joseph 
LaLiberte, Superintendent of Schools, said, "This is just a temporary 
move, and they will reopen in the foreseeable future. They are being 
mothballed and a complete security system will prevail." (44:p.9) 
Kathleen Roberts, who had been principal of the North School for seventeen 
years, and Dorothy Newton, who had been principal of the South School for 


fifteen years, were joined by delighted parents and students when the 
closings were finally deemed unnecessary. 

In 1982, more than five-hundred people gathered to honor E. 
Joseph LaLiberte on his retirement. He had served the town well since 
his appointment as superintendent in 1966. When he was told that the 
junior high school would bear his name, he said, "I can't think of anything 
that would honor me more. It is just awesome. My name is part of the 
town of Raynham now. I hope the town will be proud of me having served 
it." (4 6:p.l) 

The Dr. E. Joseph LaLiberte Junior High School built in 1965 

William J. Sullivan, Jr. became Superintendent of Schools when 
Dr. LaLiberte retired. Mr. Sullivan had been with the system many years, 
as the principal of the junior high school, Curriculum Coordinator, and 
Assistant Superintendent. When Mr. Sullivan retired in 1987, hundreds 
gathered, and he was presented with many gifts. One of the most important 
announcements was that the Center School, where Mr. Sullivan had had his 
office for many years, was being renamed the William J. Sullivan, Jr. 


School in his honor. 

Dr. Eileen C. Williams was elected to the office of Superintendent 
of Schools when Mr. Sullivan retired. Then Dr. Joseph L. Gilbert was 
elected as Assistant Superintendent. The Assistant Superintendent of 
Schools under Mr. Sullivan, Vincent Scaduto, had been scheduled to become 
the superintendent when Mr. Sullivan retired, but Mr. Scaduto was 
tragically killed in a wintry auto accident one morning on his way to 
school. The first year for the new administrators was one that saw the 
first-ever strike by Raynham teachers. 

In 1988 there were 1,329 students enrolled in the five town schools. 
North - 91, Sullivan - 188, South - 140, L. B. Merrill - 475, and E. J. 
LaLiberte Junior High - 435. There were seventy-eight teachers. 
Classroom teachers numbered: North - 4, Sullivan - 7, South - 6, L. B. 
Merrill - 22, and E. J. LaLiberte - 26. There were three music specialists, 
five physical education instructors, two art teachers, one speech 
therapist, and two librarians. In addition, there were three guidance 
counselor/psychologists. (70) Assisting in the classrooms were 
volunteers organized by Shoshanah Garshick in a group called R.A.V.E. - 
Raynham Association of Volunteers for Education. 




The Leonard House was built opposite Anchor Forge in 1653. There 
were two rooms on the first floor - one 15' x 12 ' and one 12' square. There 
were three rooms upstairs, and the lean-to across the whole length of the 
back of the house had three rooms there. James Leonard entertained King 
Philip in his home. During the King Philip war (1675-1676), even though 
Philip had told his braves not to harm the Leonards, the Leonards took 
no chance and garrisoned their home, for protection. 

Enoch Sanford, in his 1870 book, wrote, "The houses of one hundred 
years ago were oak-framed and covered and finished with home-grown pine. 
They were low, with small windows and projecting beams. The roof usually 
sloped nearly to the ground in the rear. Most houses had a huge chimney 
in the center of the house and small cellars with no light." 

Between 1700-1793 . . . "If the roof kept out a part of the rain and 
if the walls broke the wind . . . the house was pronounced comfortable and 
a fit dwelling. The candles would flare on the table from the wind through 
the chinks. Sashes were lead with diamond-shaped panes. There was no 
paint inside or out, and they had no carpets." (9:pp.37,38) 

Through the years, houses have been built in all areas of Raynham. 
Several large areas of farm land have been given over to planned housing 
developments. The rapid population growth has been a concern for many 
years because the growth brings with it the- need for increased services. 
Although most homes in Raynham are single-family homes, there are now 
mobile home parks, a housing development for the elderly, and newly- 
constructed condominiums. Before discussion of these trends, here are 
descriptions of some of the interesting homes in Raynham. 

The home at 355 Pleasant Street, which is now occupied by the Milliken 
family, is thought to have been built around 1700 and is regarded as one 
of the very oldest in Raynham. It is called the Timothy Jones House. 


F. W. Hutt, in a 1939 Taunton Daily Gazette article, wrote that the 
house was the birthplace of Samuel G. Jones, who was in his 90' s at the 
time of Hutt's article. The house was described as a ten room-colonial 
residence with wide and thick boards on the floors, sides, and overhead. 
There was no fireshelf at first, but a substantial shelf was placed there 
later. Hutt said that "some of the floor boards are uneven as they join, 
but they do join with a floor-wide evenness." There was a large, rough 
closet near the kitchen fireplace. Residents probably dried wood or 
clothing there. The doorways were "high enough for a person of height 
to pass through." HL hinges were used throughout the house. (14) 

Through the years, the house has been used for storage, as a shoe 
factory in the 1800' s, as a moonshine manufactory in the 1920' s, as a 
tenant house, and a private home. (29) 

Mr. Milliken has found artifacts in his garden. He has dug up a lock 
made of Raynham iron, a spoon mold, a fireplace toaster, and Indian 
arrowheads . 

The Timothy Jones House (Milliken) built circa 1700 


The Newcomb Reid home, at 381 Pleasant Street, is a charming old home 
built in the early 19th century for Samuel Jones. There are two chimneys 
on either side of the house. The date 1810, carved in the center beam 
in the basement, is a clue to the date the house was built. 

The Samuel Jones House (Reid) circa 1810 

The Abiathar Wilbur home, at 340 Pleasant Street, across from the 
Timothy Jones House, is described as, "... loveliest example of classic 
New England architecture. It is a good, typical post Revolutionary house, 
built with a delicacy of proportion and mastery of materials by a carpenter 
who was also an excellent wood carver." 

The house was built by Abiathar Wilbur for his new bride Abigail. 
The foundation was made from New Hampshire granite, which had been hauled 
by oxen cart over dirt roads. Wilbur's home, which was later used as a 
tavern and a "poor house," to house town indigents, has many interesting 
architectural features. The front door has a leaded glass fanlight. The 
capitals of the pilasters are hand-carved apple blossoms. Two chimneys 
are placed on center. A series of small rectangular blocks project like 
teeth from under the cornice. There are seven fireplaces, and the mantle 


of one fireplace has hand-carved angel faces on either side. Beautiful 
balustrades decorate the stairs to the second floor. One bedroom closet 
has a kick-door opening to a ladder leading to an attic space large enough 
to secrete several people. 

The Freeman home, 606 Pleasant Street, was probably built between 1830 
and 1855 by the Hathaways and owned by this family for five generations. 
Outstanding features include three working fireplaces, hand-hewn pegged 
beams, and wide pine floor boards. The property has been traced back to 
the early 1700' s as a fort during the Indian War and was owned by three 
generations of the Crosman family. 

The Hathaway House (Freeman) circa 1830-1855 


The home of Robert and Patricia Adams, at 808 Pleasant Street, is 
known as a Gushee House. The date October 12, 177 9 is carved in the 
paneling over the hearth in the "keeping room" (main room) . It is a typical 
New England farmhouse with two rooms of equal size in the front part of 
the house, upstairs and down, with the "borning room, " "keeping room" and 
"buttery" along the back of the house on the first floor and small bedrooms 
on the second floor. A wing and large barn were added around the mid 
1800' s. The residents believe that the kitchen of the wing was the former 
summer kitchen of the main house, and they've heard that this room was 
separated from the house, jacked up, and moved on rollers to the new 
addition by horses or oxen. 

Many homes in that neighborhood belonged to Gushee families, and 
there was a Gushee School on the side of the street where today's schools 
are located. 

About 1690, two Gushee brothers left France, and David settled in 
the Taunton/Raynham area. Many of their descendants settled in the area 
of White Street and Pleasant Street. 

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The Gushee House (Adams) circa 1779 


When the Adamses bought the house in 1969, much repair and 
restoration were needed. The previous year the house had been used as 
the annual Halloween haunted house. 

Many of the very old homes in Raynham were built on Pleasant Street 
and South Main Street, because this was the area near the iron forge. 

The Feehan Home (Bourget) , at 254 South Main Street, features the 
traditional beehive oven. There are five fireplaces out of one chimney. 
Residents feel that the tiny room off the kitchen was probably the birthing 
room. The construction is post and beam. 

The Hathaway House at 366 South Main Street is now owned by the 
Collins family. The exact date is unknown, but records indicate that this 
house was built in the early 1700' s. Seven generations of Hathaways lived 
there. There were several Abraham Hathaways. One Abraham was one of a 
handful of Raynham citizens who fought in the Revolutionary War. 
Hathaways included one who was a Representative to the General Court in 
1801, one who was involved with the Constitution of the United States, 
one who was in the Civil War, and one who was one of Raynham' s first town 
clerks. Residents ran a tanning business there at one time, and one 
Hathaway started a book bindery which later became the nucleus of Davol 
Printing House in Taunton. 

The house has architectural and colonial beauty. It was bought by 
two men in 1945 for about $5,000. They did much of the repair work, 
retaining all of the early colonial features. 
Interesting features of the house: 
1. There are six working fireplaces and two dutch ovens. These ovens 
were for baking. Bricks were heated in the fireplace and placed inside 
the oven until the oven was hot enough to bake in. Then cooks removed 
the bricks, placed the bread in the oven, and put the bricks back in the 
oven to retain the heat until the bread was baked. There was no 
electricity, of course, and the women thought that their ovens were very 
efficient . 

2. The house has one of only two authentic arched ceilings known 


to be in existence in the country. The Duponts, of Delaware, once offered 
the owners $1,000 for the arched ceiling, promising to replace it with 
any type of ceiling the residents wanted, but the owners refused the offer. 
The ceiling is located in the room above the front hall. 

3. Most of the windows are hand-blown. Some have 16 panes, some 
are 12 over 12; and others are 8 over 8. The hand-blown glass is wavy 
and causes distortion. 

The Hathaway House (Collins) built in the early 1700's 

4. The hand-hewn beams were pegged together. The house was drafty 
because the wide boards used unplaned, just as they came from the trees, 
did not fit together well, causing wide cracks. 

5. The floor boards, 20" wide and 1 1/2" thick, were either pegged 
or square nailed. One of the boards in the master bedroom still has the 
bark on it . 

6. The hinges and latches on the doors are hand-wrought. There are 
only two doorknobs - one on the front door and one on the back door. The 
front door features a huge bolt-type lock. 


7. It is believed that there was a secret passageway leading up to 
the attic beside the chimney in the front hall. Negro slaves were probably 
hidden there during and just before Civil War days. It is also believed 
that there was a secret hiding place between the first and second floors 
of the front hallway. Historians think this was probably a station on 
the Underground Railroad. 

8. The house in the legend about King Philip's head was probably 
the house which was first built in back of the present house. 

9. There is a natural spring in the cellar. 

The Sportman home, referred to in early history records as the 
Sanford Residence, at 656 South Main Street, was built in 1761. Sometimes 
it' s referred to as the "Old Parsonage . " It was built by the first Amariah 
Hall, and first used as a tavern, and was a popular gathering place during 
the Revolutionary War. After the war, it was used as a meeting place for 
town officials. 


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The Sanford Residence (Sportman) built in 1761 


It was purchased by Squire Dean, who turned it over to the 
Congregational Society for use as its parsonage from 1812-1847. Rev. 
Enoch Sanford, one of the chroniclers of Raynham' s history, was one who 
resided there. 

Since then there have been fifteen owners and many famous residents 
including: an Ambassador to France; Elihu Washburn, a United States 
Secretary of State; Judge Sanford, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 
of Utah; and Hempstead Washburn, who became a mayor of Chicago, Illinois. 
The house, which is two stories high, has a large chimney in the center. 
It is nearly square, and it is two rooms wide on the front. Rev. Mr. Hull 
is credited with building the portico, and Rev. Sanford, who lived there 
for twenty years, built the original front fence. 

The lovely home at 691 South Main Street, which is owned by Mr. and 
Mrs. Paull Cushman, was built in the early 19th century. 

Early Nineteenth Century home on South Main Street now owned by the Cushmans 


The Larzelere home, at 748 South Main Street, was in existence on the 
site in the 1850' s. The early records of this house were destroyed in 
a fire, but files indicate that Otis and Sarah King lived there in 1868 
and that ownership has changed about six times since then. Walter Harlow, 
the town clerk and tax collector, supposedly lived there in 1886, and a 
wooden box lid with the words x Town of Raynham' on it was found in the 
garage. Residents believe that it was probably the lid of a ballot box. 

The Otis King House (Larzelere) built in the 1850's 

Barbara O'Brien's home, at 390 White Street, was built in the late 
1700' s with a new section added in 1850 . It was referred to as the Andrews 
house on early maps . 

Carmi Andrews and Francis Andrews divided ownership officially. 
Francis received the part of the building built in 1850 plus use of one- 
third part of the cellar under the older part of the house, with passway 
to same and joint privilege of the well. (May 6, 1851) 


Records indicate that this was a large homestead because a transfer 
deed in 1913, from Corydon Andrews to Nellie Rogers, refers to 69 1/2 acres 
more or less. John Rogers, who inherited the house from Nellie Rogers 
and lived there until 1948, ran a chicken farm on the property. He was 
a selectman and had a reputation for being feisty. Interesting features 
include : 

1. Bennington doorknobs 

2. Christian doors 

3. Original latches put in with hand-cut screws 

4. 5" x 5" pegged rafters in the old house 

5. 2 1/2" x 6" rafters in the new house 

6. Three working fireplaces with no dampers 

7. A fireplace, with a damper, which was built in 1958 with 
brick from the Whittenton School 

8. Random width soft pine floors - all nailed with hand-cut 
nails . 

The Andrews House (O'Brien) built in the late 1700's 


The Hunt home, at 455 North Main Street, is unique as it was the home 
of Raynham' s first newspaper. This place has been known as the "Lander's 

Many believe that the Hewitt House at 970 North Main Street was built 
in the 1730' s and might be the second oldest house in Raynham. The original 
house was raised and an entire fifteen foot high first floor structure 
was inserted below the original building. The beams are notched and 
wooden-pegged, with special wrought iron rods running through the beams. 
The front windows are full length, facing the portico. There are 
twenty acres with sheds and a big barn. The fireplaces have walnut fronts, 
and a curved walnut bannister is featured on the stairway leading to the 
second floor, which was the original first floor. Lillian Hewitt was the 
first school nurse and is known by many Raynham residents. 

Circa 1730 house on North Main Street now owned by Mrs. Hewitt 


The Nathan Dean House, at 191 South Street East, was purchased in 
1972 by J. Michael and Deborah Edwards. The original portion of the house 
was built in 1724, with additions later on the north and the south sides. 
In 1810 Nathan Dean added the front Federal portion, with four rooms, 
a hall, and a staircase. Mr. Dean designed this after a house he had seen 
in Washington, D.C. , and he nearly went bankrupt because the detailed work 
took many hours of special handwork. There is handcarving in the two 
parlors - around the ceiling, chair-rail, and fireplace. 

There was an outhouse - constructed like a Chinese pagoda - in the 
backyard, with 5 holes (3 large and 2 small), papered in late 1800' s 
newspapers. This outhouse is pictured on p. 13 of Eric Sloane' s book, 
The Vanishing Landscape . 

Documents from the Library of Congress show that in the 1930' s the 
house had 4 chimneys, 9 fireplaces, 3 staircases, and 20 rooms. There 
was no running water, no electricity, no heat except from fireplaces and 
Franklin stoves, and no indoor plumbing. 

The Nathan Dean House (Edwards) circa 1724 


When Lydia Hall, an owner until 1952, died, Fred Caplin bought the 
property. Before he sold it in 1964, 13 rooms and 2 chimneys were 

The Edwards family has carefully restored and duplicated, keeping 
the original features. 

When they were buying the house, they were told that a ghost haunted 
the hallway. Funny noises are heard, but the owners are sure that they 
are the sounds of the cracks and crannies groaning with age, as in any 
old house. 

The house is presently called "Plum Hall" because the previous owner 
painted the ENTIRE hall plum, including a portion of the ceiling, the 
stairs, the woodwork, everything but the bannister, which was painted 
black . 

The barn of theJoseph Shaw House (Ouellette) circa 1662-1700 


Henry and Jean Ouellette' s home at 1087 Locust Street, which is 
referred to as the Joseph Shaw Home, might have been built circa 1662- 
1700. Joseph Shaw, who served in the Revolutionary War, left a carving 
underneath a floorboard that read, "J.S. 1750, 1725 to forever." It was 
his bid for immortality, and the present owners still have the board. The 
original owner was Samuel Shaw. The "Good-morning staircase" branches 
out from a common landing to each bedroom on the upper floor. Mr. Ouellette 
has meticulously restored the beauty of the old home which has two beehive 
ovens, a center chimney, many original beams, and the original root 

The large white home formerly on South Street, across from K-Mart, 
belongs to Diane and Robert W. McGuire, Jr. The center part was built in 
1728 by John King, a wealthy iron manufacturer who could afford to build 
such a home. The house is larger and was more elaborate than many houses 
built at that time. 

The John King House (McGuire) circa 1728 


Historians surmise that John King was the owner of the iron works 
which was built on the Taunton River, partly in East Taunton and partly 
in Raynham. Rooms on the second floor of the wing appear to have been 
bedrooms for the hired help. Also, this house had an "indoor outhouse" 
- quite a luxury for early residents who did not have to brave New England 
weather to go outside to their bathroom. 

Deeds have been thoroughly researched, and the King name is the most 
frequently listed. The deed attracting the most attention is the one 
in 1850 between Barzillai and Benjamin King (brothers) who divided the 
house in half, each taking specific rooms and stairways. The south wing 
was probably added at that time. 

The house has five doors to the outside and three stairways to the 
upstairs. Two beehive ovens, HL latches, six fireplaces, windows with 
some original panes, random width floor boards with original paint (some 
with spattered design) and studded with hand-hewn nails, a tiny 
unexplainable door in an outside wall on the second floor, a huge walk- 
in pantry, and beams that were pegged, all lend authentic charm to this 
very old house. 

The McGuires moved their home from its site on the Taunton River on 
South Street to Judson Street in 1990. 

Among the features in the home on the corner of Orchard Street and 
King Street, which is owned by Barbara (Leonard) Sleezer, is an open area 
in the wall in a small hall off the kitchen, next to the chimney. There 
is a large iron pot where clothes were washed in early days, and there 
is an opening in the brick which allowed the steam to escape. 

Mrs. Sleezer, who served many years as executive secretary to the 
Board of Selectmen, and was a member of the Raynham School Committee, and 
a member of the Town Government Study Committee, has a strong commitment 
to the history of Raynham. Her ancestors kept excellent records and saved 
legal documents, newspaper articles, and receipts of their family's 
transactions. They kept receipts for such things as repairing wagons, 
shoeing horses, and selling land. Mrs. Sleezer now has those records, 
and they provide valuable insight into life in early Raynham. 


One of the receipts, from a doctor in 1854, showed a bill for 

'two visits, two calls, and medicine ... $ .70 

medicine, three times ... $ .15 

total ... $ .85 

Another receipt of a doctor's bill was for: 

"twelve pills — ten cents." That was in 1860. 
A receipt from a lumber company shows a purchase of: 

"1100 feet of spruce boards, at $ . 02 a foot ($22.00) 
50 feet of pine boards, at $ .033 a foot ($1.65)" 
Records of deaths, carefully hand written, include entries for Perez 
Fobes and Toby Gilmore, both in 1812. 

The Leonard House (Sleezer) built in the 1850's 


The old saltbox home on the corner of Judson and Warren Streets, now 
occupied by Christopher S. and Margaret E. Jones, was built about 1786 
by Milo Williams. Many acres of woodlands and farmlands surrounded the 
house. Judson street was known as Middleborough Road and was the main 
road between Taunton and Middleboro. Coaches would stop at this 
farmhouse, if necessary. The home was sold several times, with each owner 
making changes. 

The granite doorstep came from the house of Robert Treat Paine, a 
signer of the Declaration of Independence from Taunton, when his Taunton 
home was torn down. Reportedly a hidden tunnel ran from the basement of 
the house, under Judson Street, to a crypt-like room on the other side. 
This was used in the Underground Railroad. A closet under the front stairs 
was used to hide children from the Indians . The closet on the front 
stairway had an opening into the center chimney, and it was used as a smoke 
room. The house has the traditional fireplaces, beehive ovens, wide board 
floor, horse hair plaster, and old panes of glass. The cricket which is 
often heard in the house and the chimney swifts nesting in the chimney 
are considered good omens. 

The home has been beautifully restored and maintained. 

The Milo Willians House (Jones) circa 1786 


Pinehill Estates, a mobile home park on Hill Street which opened its 
first unit in 1973, is still expanding. George Bumila, Sr., who was 
appointed by the Governor to the State Mobile Home Commission and is on 
the Legislative Committee for the Mobile Home Industry, said there are 
246 units there in 1988, an increase from 86 units in 1973. Residents 
in the park must be fifty-five years old, or older. There is a mobile 
home park in North Raynham, too, bringing to 284 the number of mobile homes 
in Raynham. 

Housing for the elderly, in Pinewood Terrace on twenty-eight acres 
on Mill Street, was dedicated in 1980. HUD regulations require that unit 
occupants must be at least 62 years old. Rental fees differ because they 
are derived on the basis of one-half of the resident's income. 

In 1978, Raymond Milliken said that in 1973 there were only about 
300 senior citizens but that currently there were 1,009 seniors. (29) 
Housing for the elderly was a definite need in Raynham. The units are 
made of rough-hewn wood to blend with the wooded setting. It's within 
walking distance of a market, post office, drug store, cleaners, and 

Pinewood Terrace dedicated in 1980 


Undoubtedly the building with the most unique architecture is the 
Bottle Restaurant on Route 138. It has a huge milk bottle replica as the 
front of a restaurant. The bottle is an Art Deco period tribute to what 
is now referred to as "Coney Island architecture." (32) 

The bottle is about 50 feet high and 20 feet in diameter and is painted 
to represent milk, with cream at the top, and the cover of the bottle. 

The Milk Bottle, a famous North Raynham landmark 

A small white building on Route 138, near the site of the outdoor 
theater, has a sign on the front, indicating that it was a toll house on 
that route, in 1783. 


A June, 1988, Brockton Enterprise article referred to the newest type 
of home construction in the area - condominiums. In one of the newer 
condominium developments, of the first 30 buyers, 7 were ages 20-29; 7 
were ages 30-39; 16 were over 50 years old. The development had only one- 
bedroom units, and the prices started at $89,000 and went as high as 
$93, 000. 

Housing: 1988 

Residential tax rate per $1,000: $15.60 

Last year property was revalued: 1988, for fiscal 1989 

Average selling price of single-family home (assessors' estimate) : 

$146, 000 
Number of single-family homes: 2,442 
Number of two-family homes: 60 
Number of three-family homes: 21 
Number of condominiums: 174 
Number of apartment units: 185 
Number of public elderly units: 62 

^**%$ %-]***. 

Weonit Hall at Johnson's Pond (American Legion Memorial Hall) 
damaged by fire and then razed in 1959 


The First Toby Gilmore House on Broadway circa 1784 

The Second Toby Gilmore House in North Raynham, burned in 1918 


Old Cassander Gilmore House, Raynham Center, no longer standing 

The Rev. Simeon Doggett House, no longer standing 


XIV. Cemeteries 

There are twenty-two cemeteries in Raynham. The large one on 
Pleasant Street is town-owned, and there are numerous smaller cemeteries 
all over town. Private family-owned cemeteries are located near many 
homes . 

If one enters gate one at the Pleasant Street Cemetery, he'll find 
monuments with names of the early well-known residents. 

Toby Gilmore's gravestone is in the North Raynham cemetery. 

Records seem to indicate that the oldest monument is in the Shaw 
Burying Ground, which is the little cemetery on a hill of grass on South 
Street in back of Shaw's Market. The stone is crudely hand-chiseled to 
say that Sylvanus Campbell had died at age 51 in 1718. It begins, "Hear 
lys. . ." 


* ■„■■■ r . 


- •-.. ,# 

The Sylvanus Campbell monument from 1718 




Newspaper articles, material written by Sanford and Fobes, and 
interviews with local citizens all help us to visualize life in earlier 

The list of names of men who had received college degrees by 1861 
includes a few familiar first names, but most of them are unfamiliar to 
us today. They include 

Joshua John 

Lloyd George 

Jonathan Philo 

Eliab Abiel 

Linus Edward 

Amos Elijah 












A 1964 newspaper article described the Route 44 section of Raynham. 
The author mentioned a modern motel, Berk's Shopping Center, Benny's Auto 
Store, Capeway Bowl, Fernandes Market and a bank. He said that the Jordan 
Marsh Shopping Center would be underway within the next three years, and 
continued, "Add to that numerous soft drink establishments, restaurants, 
and garden product sales stands, which make Raynham almost a comfortable 
place in which to live." In 1964 there were 4,200 people and 1,504 homes. 
This was a dramatic increase since 1864 when there were 1,000 people and 
342 homes. 

Raynham' s 250th birthday sparked childhood memories for Ralph Moye, 
who wrote an article about life in 1931, fifty years before the 1981 
anniversary . 

Students went to Taunton High School. 

All water was from wells. 

Chicken and stock drank first during a drought. 


Milk came from a cow not from a store. 
Hot water came from a tank on the back of the stove. 
Each member of the family had a brick, encased in flannel, which 
stayed in the oven (except when cooking) during the day. "What joy to 
rush from the stove to one's bed with a warm Stiles and Hart brick all 
one' s own. " (43) 

Oil lamps provided light, and their globes had to be cleaned and their 
wicks trimmed. 

There was no inside plumbing. 

Route 44 didn't exist, and it was a real trip to get to the Cape. 
Earlier cars had to be cranked to be started. They had side curtains, 
running boards, a trunk, and a tire repair kit. 

Merrall Viles, known for years as "Mr. Raynham, " planned for years 
to assemble a history of Raynham and has accurate facts and interesting 
memories of Raynham - the town and its people. He has memories of the 
trolley line and of the time when the four roads extending from the center 
were paved for a short distance each way. Having to push a truck up the 
muddy, unpaved hill of Orchard Street, heading toward East Taunton, made 
an outing an adventure. His memories of the fire department are detailed 
because his father was the first fire chief. Halloween pranks were fun 
in early days, too, and bring a smile to Merrall' s face. 

Merrall Viles moved to Raynham in 1913 when he was three years old. 
His father was appointed as the first Fire Chief in 1925. Until the fire 
station was built in 1928, the Chief kept the fire trucks in a shed near 
his house. Those were the last trucks with chemical tanks (no water). 
During the years when Merrall Viles was attending Center School, 
vandals filled the school chimney with cord wood which had been cut to 
length for the wood stove, and when the fire was started in the school 
stove the next morning, a fire started in the chimney, and the school 
burned down. The children had to attend classes at the Town Hall. The 
present school was built at the same site as the original school. 

When asked about interesting people in early Raynham, Merrall 
mentioned Almon K. White, the first police chief, saying that Chief White 


Walton W. Viles, 
Raynham's First Fire Chief 

was very fair and very strong. 
He said people obeyed the laws 
when Almon White was Chief! 

He said that one of the 
most interesting characters in 
early Raynham was Fred Hall, who 
was well known at early town 
meetings . 

Merrall remembers turning 
two-foot long billy clubs from 
hickory, on his lathe, for the 
early auxiliary police. 

Merrall' s family proudly 
remembers the election which 
was held at Shaw' s Market on the 
Saturday before Raynham's 250th 
Anniversary celebration, when 
the townspeople chose him as 
King and Isabelle Hannant as 
Queen of the festivities. 

Mrs. Florence Viles, 
Merrall' s wife, has always been 
interested in the Raynham 
Schools. She was President of 
the P . T.O. at one time . Florence 
remembers Miss J. B. Goodick, 
the teaching principal of the 
South School for many years, as 
a legend, and said that Miss 

Goodick would be a good role model for teachers of today. She also said 
that Mrs. Doris Connors was a "gem of a teacher." 

It's Raynham's loss that Mr. Viles never wrote a book about the history 
of Raynham. 


XVI. Celebrations 

Raynham, which was established in 1731, has enjoyed three major 
anniversary celebrations - in 1931, 1976, and 1981. 

In 1931, Mr. Hutt, of the Old Colony Historical Society, wrote a poem, 
"The Iron Men," for Raynham' s Bicentenary observance. The poem had six 
stanzas. This is the first stanza. 

The Iron Men 
Now here's health to your Iron Men 
Big-hearted fellows of long ago; 
Big-fisted fellows, who feared no foe - 
Each man of them having the strength of ten. 
I sing of Giants of vast renown, 
Your stout old Vulcans of Raynham Town. (12) 

The 200th anniversary booklet in 1931 featured a cover with the iron 
works, the town seal, and an anchor. According to the booklet, 
entertainment was provided by students and adults, including teachers and 
school committee members. Episodes included skits on inviting the 
Leonards to establish the iron industry - as adults took parts of a 
moderator and members of a town meeting. School children performed 
singing games and folk dances. 

Most activities were in June for good weather at Weonit Hall on 
Johnson's Pond. Arthur Corbishley won a road race in his age category. 
Ted Januse won a foot race and a bicycle race. There were canoe races 
and canoe tilting races on Johnson's Pond. There was a big parade, a band 
concert, and a display of Indian relics and antiques. A farrier and a 
spinner demonstrated their skills. A catered dinner was served in a tent 
nearby . 

The most unique Raynham performance was a pageant on the island in 
Johnson' s Pond. Part of the island had been set aside for the performance. 
The stage was a raft attached by ropes to trees on the island. The 
participants were ferried to the raft by boats manipulated by a system 


of ropes and pulleys. The fireworks display after the pageant was 
effective with the reflections on the water of the pond. (40) 

There was a public Raynham church service at the North Raynham 
Congregational Church in connection with the two-hundredth anniversary. 

Residents decorated their homes, but one, especially, was noted by 
all. Doris Connors' home (across from the present St. Ann's Church) was 
decorated with flags across the entire front of the house and garage. In 
addition, a flag was flying from an upstairs window. 

A Taunton Daily Gazette article in 1981 described school life in 
1931, at our bicentenary: Center School was overcrowded, and fifth and 
sixth grades met in the Town Hall. If a teacher married, she could no 
longer be hired as a full-time teacher. However, she could do substitute 
teaching. At Judson School there were separate entrances for boys and 
girls. If you were neat, you were allowed to use an ink well. Children 
walked to school or went by horse and wagon. Children brought their 
lunches in lunch pails. Children going to Center School had to walk if 
their homes were between Williams' Garage (now Mastria Motors) and school. 
If they lived farther, they rode the trolley. 


Raynham, Massachusetts, U.S.A., and Rainham, Essex, England began 
correspondence on June 5, 1974, when Mr. L. F. Thompson, headmaster of 
the Whybridge Junior High School in the London Borough of Havering, wrote 
a letter addressed to "The Mayor, Raynham, Massachusetts, U.S.A." 
Marjorie Largey, Secretary of the Raynham Bicentennial Committee, 
received the letter. Mr. Thompson wrote, "We are holding a fund-raising 
activity and wonder whether you could give us some help in our project. 
It may be that your town has a badge or pennant which might be used as 
a prize for competition. If so, we would be willing to pay or offer you 
something in return." The Raynham Bicentennial committee sent a Paul 
Revere bowl to Rainham in response to the letter. In addition, Patrice 
White, an English teacher at the Raynham Junior High, had her students 
write letters to penpals in Rainham. Mr. Thompson sent a coat of arms 
of Havering to be presented to the principal, Chester J. Millett, Jr. 



Raynham received word in August, 1974 that it would receive the 
designation as a national Bicentennial Community. (19) 

In order to be considered for the award, the Raynham Bicentennial 
Commission had to submit a description of proposed activities and 
historical sites to the Bicentennial Administration. 

Only 1,297 communities received the honor, and Raynham was one of 
those. According to local commission members, the Toby Gilmore homesite 
was a major factor in the selection. 

The local committee, formed to help Raynham commemorate America' s 
birth which was two hundred years earlier, set specific goals: to honor 
the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the future. (6) They chose 
May for most of the activities because school would still be in session 
and our celebrations wouldn't conflict with state and nationwide 
celebrations . 

All small school principals, and Mr. Bruno, the L. B. Merrill School 
principal, were contacted by Chester J. Millett, the junior high 
principal, to plan activities for the week of May 10th - May 15th. 

Senior citizens were involved on May 8th, town election day, as they 
offered coffee, crafts, paintings, weavings, and other exhibits at the 
Merrill School voting area. On May 10th, the Amariah Hall Singers 
presented a concert at the First Congregational Church. They put us 
briefly in touch with the past as they offered a few tunes and "musicks" 
(sic) of early Raynham. (6) 

At the Raynham Junior High, choral readings and folk dances were 
performed, and classes displayed food, art, crafts, and costumes showing 
the influence of Europe, Asia, and Africa on America. The L. B. Merrill 
and junior high choruses performed. The Bridgewater-Raynham Concert Band 
and choir gave performances. 

The Park Department had a large field day for all ages. A chicken 
barbecue was prepared by the Lions Club, and a dance was held at the fire 


station. The parade was held on Sunday. It formed in back of Mammoth 
Mart (now Shaw's), went onto South Street and onto South Main Street, 
proceeding by the site of the first iron works, where there was a reviewing 
stand. Raynham had received an anchor from the U.S. Navy because Raynham' s 
Anchor Forge had turned out several anchors for the U.S. Navy. The 
honorary marshals were Lillie B. Merrill, Walter O'Brien and Florence 
O'Brien, Albert Porter, Russell Reid, Roger Hall, Barbara Sullivan, 
Lillian Hewitt, Olga Markowski, Helen Cameron, Kay Heywood, Ralph Moye, 
Mrs. Warren Hill, Joseph Varao, Harold Ashley, Embert Hall, George Mador, 
Paull Cushman, Arthur Schutzmeister, Mr. and Mrs. George Powers, John 
Lovenbury, Mr. and Mrs . Raymond Milliken, Ralph Hagan, Mrs. Rosario Cote, 
Arthur Walters, James Hauck and Mrs. Leon Machado. 

The Taunton Minutemen marched proudly in their new uniforms which 
were sewn by Norma Collins of Raynham. She sewed 37 authentically 
duplicated colonial uniforms, based on drawings provided by the 
Smithsonian Institution. 

U. S Navy Anchor commemorating the site of Anchor Forge 



The original idea of obtaining an anchor from the U.S. Navy, to serve 

as a memorial for the iron works, came from the first Bicentennial 

Chairman, Robert W. McGuire,Jr. The anchor was obtained through joint 

cooperation of the Raynham Lions Club under King Lion David Fisher and 

the U.S. Navy. The anchor was accepted by Selectmen chairman Donald 

McKinnon, and the responsibility of caring for the anchor was accepted 

by Ruth Danforth of the Historical Commission. The Lions Club helped with 

the transportation of 

the anchor to Raynham 

and provided the concrete 

platform for the anchor. 

Richard Hill, the 

next chairman of the 

Bicentennial Commission, 

expressed thanks to the 

committee for such 

successful activities 

and was largely 

responsible for 

production of a 64-page 

souvenir booklet. 

■■■■■HB' •' 


Plaque commemorating the site of the Anchor 


RAYNHAM'S 250TH - 1981 

1931 , 1 976, 1 981 - WERE ALL YEARS TO CELEBRATE. 

Raynham held a month long "Happy Birthday Raynham" gala. Maxine 
Englund, the committee chairman, with help from the Raynham Lions Club, 
organized a huge parade which lasted two and one half hours. Miss Gertrude 
Leonard was the honorary parade marshal, as the oldest town native. 

Raynham citizens of all ages participated in the activities. Merrall 
Viles spoke at a school on the history of Raynham. Kathy O'Connor of 
Raynham won first place in the female junior division of the road race. 
Other Raynham race winners, in their categories, were Janet Baron, David 
Rubin and John Pasqueriello . Cherie Burer won top prize in the poster 
contest . 

At the 250th Pageant, sixteen year old Tina Volpe was crowned "Miss 
Raynham 250th." Pat Riley was M.C., and Eric Perry entertained. The 
highlight of the evening was the crowning of the Senior Citizen King and 
Queen. Isabelle Hannant was crowned Queen. Mrs. Hannant owns and operates 
Hannant Florist Shop, which has been in the family for over fifty years. 
She is the widow of Lester Hannant, her husband of thirty-eight years. 
Merrall Viles was crowned Senior Citizen King. Mr. Viles is known 
as the "town historian" and probably knows more about the town than any 
other resident. He was a Captain in the Fire Department and is now retired. 

"WE THE PEOPLE" - 1988 

The Raynham Historical Society sponsored a photography contest in 
commemoration of the signing of the Constitution. Kathleen Roberts and 
Judith Niles were co-chairmen. Winners were Kathy Carpenter, Heather 
Pollard, and Tracy Santos. 




Raynham residents have always done their share during war time. One 
legend which captures the imagination is that during Revolutionary War 
times, a Sgt. George King of the colonial militia rode through Raynham 
with fife and drum, calling out, "Rally! The British are shooting our 
Massachusetts men! Rally, and drive them out of the country!" Minutemen 
in Raynham, with three days' provisions packed, were in readiness at call. 
Monuments to memorialize our servicemen are at Johnson's Pond and 
in front of the library. Several places in our town are named for 
servicemen who lost their lives. The local American Legion Post is named 
for Lt . Chester A. Bearse. Two bridges are named for James McGarry and 
Augustus C. Oliver, Jr., and the park at Johnson's Pond is called Bruce 
E. Johnston, III Memorial Park. 

In front of the library the two stones with plaques memorialize 
Raynham residents who served in World War I and in World War II. The 
monuments were erected by the town of Raynham in 1928 and in 1950. The 
statue of a serviceman in uniform in front of the library, is, "In memory 
of soldiers of 1861 - 1865." It was erected by Miss Amy Leonard and 
friends . 

Raynham Memorial Library 

The monument at Johnston Park - for the veterans of the wars in Korea 
and Vietnam - was erected in 1970 by the trustees of soldiers' memorials. 
The plaque has a quote from Emerson: 

So nigh is grandeur to our dust 
So near to God is man 
When duty whispers low, "Thou must. 
The youth replies, "I can." 


The Lions Club, founded in 1946, is the oldest service organization 
in town. The Lioness Club was formed in 1984. "To be a Lion is to be 
concerned, involved, and working together with some good fellows for some 
worthy causes." (6:p.l7) 

The American Legion Post, chartered in 1947, and its Auxiliary, are 
involved in the same types of activities as the Lions Club, working with 
schools, children, Little League, and important causes in town. 

The Raynham Historical Society was organized in 1972 to preserve data 
and artifacts. 

The Raynham Jaycees was founded in 1975 by a group of young men (18- 
35) interested in the welfare of Raynham, to provide leadership training 
and community development. 
Recently a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post was established. 

The New American Legion Hall, Mill Street 



Two Raynham natives achieved their goal of playing baseball in the 
major leagues. Ezra Perry Lincoln, born in 1868, developed a fine pitching 
arm while working as a blacksmith. In 1890, he pitched for Cleveland in 
the National League and for Syracuse in the American Association. 

Timothy Cornelius Donahue, born in Raynham 
in 1870, was a catcher for the Boston American 
Association and then for Chicago in the 
National League for six seasons. 

Deborah Michaud has brought fame to 
Raynham as she has won horseshoe pitching 
contests. In 1988 she competed in the World 
Horseshoe Pitching Championships in California. 
Tara Taylor' s figure skating successes in 
the 1980' s created excitement as she brought 
home titles and trophies to share with her 

parents, Tim and Shirley, with her Jackson Drive neighbors, and with the 
entire community. 

Dorothy Morkis, of North Raynham, rode in the Montreal Summer 
Olympics, as part of the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team, in 1976. Prior to 
that, she had won a gold medal and a bronze medal in the Pan-American 
Competition in Mexico. 

Gil Santos, a Raynham resident since 1971, is WBZ's "Voice of 
Sports. " His work history and awards include: Broadcast Patriots' games 
through 1979; Boston Celtics play-by-play; play-by-play for the USFL in 
1984 and ABC radio for 1984 Olympics; Massachusetts Sportscaster of the 
Year award in 1980, 1983, 1984; UPI National award for Outstanding Sports 
Report in 1986; 15 UPI and AP awards for Best New England Play-by-Play 
and Sports Reporting - 1977-1988; eight awards for best Boston Marathon 
coverage 1979-1987; New England Emmys for best TV play-by-play in 1980, 
1981, 1983, 1985; Boston magazine selection as "Best Play-by-Play 
Announcer in Boston Radio or TV" for the past three years. 




The town's first official street names were established in 1895, and 
many street and other place names commemorate early Raynham families. 
Two long ridges of land run generally north and south. Route 138 runs 
along the top of one ridge. Locust Street runs along the top of the other. 

Raynham is well served by a regional road system which connects the 
town with major cities. It is located at the crossroads of highways I- 
495, 24, and 25. U.S. Highway 44 passes through south Raynham. Two state 
highways - 138 and 104 - pass through Raynham. "The road system for the 
most part follows the ridges of higher land which pass through the town, 
and, therefore, follow curvilinear patterns; there is no regimented 
system of roads, for this reason." (8:p. 14) 

The new Route 495 is expected to affect growth, land use, and traffic 

patterns. Such development in North Raynham may depend on the provision 

of sewerage and on improved water supply. Protection of aquifers and 

wetlands is a concern of the town. (7) In the digging of 495, Brown 

University' s Public Archaeology Lab experts found American Indian 

artifacts they believe came from Indian villages perhaps 400-500 years 

before the Pilgrims arrived. (31) 

About 25,000 years ago a swamp was buried under a mile or two of 

ice. About 12,000 years ago geologists called it Leverett Sea. The old 

bed of Leverett Sea gradually became the spongy, swampy woodland we know 

as Hockomock Swamp. One shallow pond, reduced to 368 acres, is now called 

Lake Nippenicket and is the only large area of open water now remaining 

of the Leverett Sea. Today the Hockomock Swamp, which spreads through 

six cities and towns, including Raynham, is the largest natural swamp in 

Massachusetts, and perhaps, the largest in the Northeastern United 

States. (52) 

Underground aquifer is important because it provides drinking 

water for most Raynham residents. The water is drawn to the surface by 


wells operated by two water districts. (8:p.39) 

Raynham's electricity is provided by the Taunton Municipal Lighting 
Plant. Gas service is supplied in under-ground pipes by the Bay State 
Gas Company. (8:p.21) Continental Cablevision provides cable television. 

In 1950 there were 2,126 residents. In I960, there were 4,150, and 
in 1980, there were 9,085 residents. From 1960-1980, 72.5% of the 
population was attributed to in-migration and 27.5% to natural increase 
(the difference of births minus deaths) . The projected population for 
the year 1995, determined by the Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic 
Development District's regional wastewater management study, in 1983, is 
approximately 16,000 people. (8:p.ll) In 1988 there are 8,935 people. 
In 1983 there were 170 acres of commercially used land and 40 acres 
of industrially used land. Agricultural land is about 750 acres, or 6% 
of the town. Raynham's area is 20.30 square miles. 

Between 1977 and 1983 changes took place which will affect recreation 
and conservation. Raynham bought 31 acres on King Philip Street, for 
recreational use; bought the 
35 . 5 acre Hewitt' s Pond Preserver- 
bought 248 acres of agricultural 
land. One of the fields at the 
Borden Colony was dedicated, in 
1988, to Kevin McKenney, a popular 
B-R senior, who was killed in a 
car accident. 

For five years, in the mid- 
1980' s, a road race, organized by 
the Quinn, Ricciardi, and Hanson 
families, as a memorial to Judith 

The Merrill School athletic field 
was dedicated to Lawrence Burke. 

White Lafond, daughter of Richard and Patrice White, and sister of Richard 
White, Jr., attracted hundreds of participants yearly and raised 
thousands of scholarship dollars. Many-time marathon winner Bill Rodgers 
was the featured runner in the final year of the race. Judith, wife of 
Navy Lieutenant Daniel J. Lafond, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the 
age of twenty-three. 



Walton W. Viles, first fire chief, had his office in his home. The 
firemen, always on call, would respond quickly to every fire. Theodore 
Januse,a call fireman since 1936, became Fire Chief in 1949 and remained 
at that job for 32 years. Raymond E. Chappell, 1988 Fire Chief, has eleven 
full-time firefighters and twenty call firemen. 

Prior to 1930, Raynham had no full-time police officers or a police 
department. Laws were upheld by constables appointed yearly by the Board 
of Selectmen. In 1930 Almon K. White was appointed the first police chief. 
His office was in the front room of his home on Hill Street. Russell M. 
Reid, chief in 1952, was the only full-time officer on the force. In 1957 

the Town Building was 

constructed for $135,000 on 

Orchard Street, and the Police 

Station was there. Peter 

King, 1988 Chief of Police, 

listed 14 members of his 

Department. (70:p.l00) 

The Highway Surveyor, 

Harry Carey, wrote in the 1988 

Town Report, "The general 

maintenance of town roads to 

keep on top of the pot hole 

season was a full-time job 

this year." (70:p.l03) 

R. William Barber, 

chairman of the Park and 

Recreation Commission, and Gary 

O'Neil, director, stated in 

the 1988 report that the major 

highlight was the continued 

construction of the recreation 

complex at Borden Colony. 

Almon K. White, First Police Chief 


Raynham has a town meeting format of government. The first town 
meeting for the choice of a board of selectmen and other town officers 
was on April 22, 1731. (13:p.l) The first Town Clerk was Samuel Leonard, 
Jr., and the first Selectmen were John Staples, Samuel Leonard, Sr., and 
Ebenezer Robinson. 

The 1988 Town Clerk is Helen Lounsbury, and the chairman of the Board 
of Selectmen is Donald McKinnon. The other two Selectmen are Albert 
Porter and Donald Francis. 

A town meeting is the legislative body of the town government, 
similar to the State Legislature and Congress, which are the legislative 
bodies in state and national governments. However, the town meeting in 
Raynham differs in that each person represents himself and has a right 
to be heard. (6:p.21) A warrant is a list of all the things to be voted 
on at a town meeting. 

Town Government: 1988 

Town Meeting - held third Monday in May 

Voters in each party: Democrats: 1,440 Republicans : 966 

Independents: 2,490 
In Congress: 

U.S. Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry 
U.S. Representative J. Joseph Moakley 
In Legislature: 

State Senator John F. Parker 
State Representative Jacqueline Lewis 
Police Chief: Peter King 
Fire Chief: Raymond Chappell 
School Superintendent: Dr. Eileen Williams 
Assistant Superintendent: Dr. Joseph Gilbert 
School Committee: Chairman Joseph Bettencourt, Dr. Francis 
Gendreau, Shoshanah Garshick, Robert Cardaci, 
Mark Sanderson 


Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School Committee: 

Chairman Arthur Wyman, Clifford Bettencourt, 

James Dupont, George Gurley 
Bristol-Plymouth Regional Vocational Technical School 

Committee: Catherine Williams 
Zoning Board of Appeals: 

Chairman Robert Newton, Dix Shevalier, 

Arthur Largey 
Board of Assessors: 

Chairman John Lynn, Roger Howlett, 

Richard Mastria, Sr. 
Building Inspector: Dennis Machado 
Highway Surveyor: Harry Carey 
Town Clerk: Helen Lounsbury 
Town Counsel: Marc Antine 
Finance Committee: 

Chairman Robert Mastria, Russell Martorana, 

Carl Carlson, Michael Lalli, 

Dr Michael Goldstein 
Board of Health: Selectmen Donald Francis, Albert Porter, 

Donald McKinnon 
Housing Authority: 

Chairman Dolores Travaglione, Betty Thompson, 

Marie Smith, Donald Bernard, Flora Hagan 
Town Moderator: Joseph McCusker 
Planning Board: 

Chairman Albert Lounsbury, Edmund Brennan, 

Roger Poisson, Robert Navin, Henry Ellis 
Conservation Commission: 

Chairman Dana Whitman, Louis Bousquet, 

Donald Shearstone, Paul Weinberg, Daniel 

Krajcik, Bernice Fountain, Gordon Francis 


Park and Recreation Commission: R. William Barber, George 

Blaney, Norman Marotte, Director: Gary O'Neil 
Town Treasurer: Robert P. Smith 
Tax Collector: Barbara Gallagher 
Schools : 

LaLiberte Junior High School: Principal Alan Jaffe 
Lillie B. Merrill School: Principal William Bruno 
Sullivan School: Principal Robert H. Smith 
South School: Principal Dorothy Newton 
North School: Principal Nancy Flynn 
Raynham Public Library: Director Ellen Ranney 
Sewer Commissioners: John Holmes, Frank Cabral, Matthew 

Roskuska, Harry Carey 
Industrial and Development Commission: Herbert Johnson, W. 

LeRoy Latimer, Joseph Bettencourt, Theodore 

Sargent, Robert Archer 
Cemetery Commission: Barbara O'Brien, Charles Woodward, 

Anna Woodward, Calvin Ellis - Supt . 
Council on Aging: Bernice Fountain, Barbara O'Brien, 

Raymond Milliken, Betty Thompson, Florence 

Rowland, Paul Rodrique, Katheen Roberts 
Historical Commission: Brady Fitts, Kathleen Roberts, Dora 

Pine, Robert Harlow, Arthur Pelletier, Patricia 

Arts Lottery Council: Linda Tillson, James O'Neil, Carol 

Mailloux, Judith Niles, Beatriz Ferrier, Denise 

Vieira, Eleanor Calvin, Dorothy Newton, Patricia 

Auger, Beverly Tokarz, Barbara LaFlamme, Robert 

Eastman, Pauline Sears 


"/As a town almost literally 
forged in iron, and one that has 
contributed greatly to the 
progress and history of this 
area, it appears that Raynham 
will rely on its continuing 
vitality to help face the 

that growth 
will inevitably 
bring. (I6:p.3) 

■■■■■■■.■■■■■, ■.■■■■■•,■■■,■.■.■■■.■.■■■■•■-■■■■■■■..■.■■■, ■.■.■. -,■■■■■.■,-.■ 


XXIII. Acknowledgments 

I would like to thank: 
Richard A. White , my husband, for his sustaining support and 

encouragement during this project, 

Linda Ashcraft for typing the manuscript, 

Diane McGuire for designing the layout, 

Barbara LaFlamme , and the Old Colony Historical Society 

for the photography, and 
the following people for information and inspiration: 

Merrall Viles 

Marie Ventura 

Lorna Sylvia 

Barbara Dean 

Ellen Ranney 

Randall Buckner 

Judith Christine 

Barbara Sleezer 

Margaret E . Jones 

Patricia Adams 

Deborah Edwards 

Mary Carol Larzelere 

George Bumila, Sr. 

Doris Crook 

Helen Lounsbury 

Marsha Silvia 

Carol Wilson 

Norma Collins 

Margaret McGuire 

Maureen Monahan 

Richard A. White, Jr. 

Mary Anderson 

Mary Keeler 

XXIV. Bibliography 

1. Borden, Hon. Alanson. Our Country and Its People - A 
Descriptive and Biographical Record of Bristol Count y 
Massachusetts . Boston: Boston History Co. Publishers, 1899. 

2. Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society . New York: 
Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1794. 

3. Connolly, Michael. Historic and Archaeological Resources o f 
Southeast Massachusetts . Massachusetts Historical Commission, 

4. Emery, Samuel. History of Taunton . Syracuse: D. Mason and 
Co. Publishers, 1893. 

5. Hill, Richard. Raynham ' 7 6 . Raynham: Raynham Bicentennial 
Commission, 1976. 

6. Hurd, D. Hamilton. History of Bristol County, Massachusetts . 
Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis Co., 1883. 

7. Interstate 495 Areawide Approach to Growth . Taunton: 
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economics Development 
District, 1978. 

8. Raynham Conservation and Recreation Plan . Taunton: 
Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District, 

9. Sanford, Rev. Enoch. History of Raynham . Massachusetts (from 
the first settlement to the present time) . Providence: 
Hammond, Angell Co. Printers, 1870. 


10. Sylvester, H. M. Indian Wars of New England . Boston: W. B. 
Clarke Co., 1910. 

11. Taunton Area - Massachusetts . Windsor Publications, 1973. 

12. "Raynham Has Bicentennary Observance." Taunton Daily Gazette . 

13. "Two Ancient Houses in Raynham." Taunton Daily Gazette . 1931. 

14. "Other Waymarks Hither and Yon." Taunton Daily Gazette . 1939. 

15. "Growth of Towns Reflects on Taunton." Taunton Daily Gazette . 

16. "Raynham History." Advocate . 1970. 

17. "Flipping Through the Pages of History at the Raynham Public 
Library." Taunton Daily Gazette . 1972. 

18. "Raynham Counts Up Achievements and Blunders . " Taunton Daily 
Gazette . January 29, 1974. 

19. "Parade, Flag Raising Mark Town as a Bicentennial Community." 
Brockton Enterprise . October 8, 1974. 

20. "Raynham, Massachusetts and Rainham, England Communicate." 
Taunton Daily Gazette . November 30, 1974. 

21. "The Titiquet Purchase ." Taunton Daily Gazette . December, 1974 

22. "Raynham the Site of Pioneer Iron Works." Taunton Daily 
Gazette . February, 1976. 


23. "Bands, Floats Escort Navy Anchor." Taunton Daily Gazette . May 

17, 1976. 

24. "Part of U.S. Olympic Dressage Team." Taunton Daily Gazette . 
June, 1976. 

25. "Raynham and Rainham Build Their Friendships ." Taunton Daily 
Gazette . October, 1976. 

26. "Tribe Marks New Year in Middleboro." Taunton Daily Gazette . 

27. "Historical Booklet Sale Planned." Taunton Daily Gazette . 1976. 

28. "Mrs. Collins Sews Colonial Style." Taunton Daily Gazette . 1976 

29. "Raynham' s Future Secure." Taunton Daily Gazette . February 26, 

30. "Where the Ghosts Stalk, Tourists Flock. " Boston Sunday Globe . 
October 29, 1978. 

31. "Evidence of Ancient Times Unearthed in Raynham. " Taunton Daily 
Gazette . November 10, 1978. 

32. "Milk Bottle Restaurant, a Reminder of the Past . " Brockton 
Enterprise . 1978. 

33. "Raynham Project Rates With the Best." Taunton Daily Gazette . 

34. "Only Yesterday - Fifty Years Ago." Taunton Daily Gazette . 
March, 1980. 


35. "Building From Scratch, They Did It By Themselves . " Taunton 
Daily Gazette . October 18, 1980. 

36. "Dancer Wins 'Miss 250th' Title." Taunton Daily Gazette . April 
13, 1981. 

37. "Raynham Life for Senior King, Queen." Taunton Daily Gazette . 
April, 1981. 

38. "Raynham Celebrates Its 250th In Style." Brockton Enterprise . 
May 4, 1981. 

39. "Raynham - 250 Years Young and Still Growing." Brockton 
Enterprise . May 5, 1981. 

40. "Raynham - 250th Anniversary." Taunton Daily Gazette . May 

41. "Only Yesterday." Taunton Daily Gazette . May, 1981. 

42. "First Raynham Settlers Reflected in 250th Parade. " Taunton 
Daily Gazette . May, 1981. 

43. "Raynham Birthday Sparks Childhood Memories ." Taunton Daily 
Gazette . May, 1981. 

44. "North, South Raynham Losing 'Their' Schools ." Taunton Daily 
Gazette . June, 1981. 

45. "150th Anniversary for First Baptist." Taunton Daily Gazette . 

46. "Raynham to Rename School for LaLiberte." Taunton Daily 
Gazette . 1982. 


47. "Toby Gilmore's Hat at Historical Hall." Taunton Daily Gazette . 
September 27, 1986. 

48. "Historical Society Names Winners in Photo Contest . " Brockton 
Enterprise . May, 1988. 

49. "Kids Make Library's Birthday a 'Historic Party . ' " Raynham 
Journal . June, 1988. 

50. "Who's Buying?" Brockton Enterprise . June 30, 1988. 

51. "Historical Society Hears Students' Research Report." 
Brockton Enterprise , . July 6, 1988. 

52. "Swamp Has Greater Value Than You'd Think." Raynham Journal ,1988 

53. "Indians Summered at Fowling Pond." Taunton Daily Gazette . 

54. "Raynham History Full of Colorful Highlights ." Taunton Daily 
Gazette . 

55. "A Walk Into the Record Books." Taunton Daily Gazette . 

56. "Taunton Waymarks - Old and New." Taunton Daily Gazette . 

57. "Church." Raynham Public Library Folder. 

58. "Early History." R. P. L. 

59. "First Congregational Church Year Book and Directory." 1935 

R. P. L. 

60. Largey, Marjorie. "Letter to Town Organizations." 1976 R. P. L. 


61. Leonard Family. "A Review of the Attempt to Manufacture Iron 
at Lynn and Braintree in Massachusetts and the Successful 
Enterprise at Taunton in the Old Colony." 1901. R. P. L. 

62. McGuire, Margaret. "The Development of the Raynham School 
System Through the Nineteenth Century." 1962. 

63. O'Brien, Lillian. "Baptist Church." 1988. R. P. L. 

64. "Petition for Separation from Taunton - to General Court." 
Old Colony Historical Society Museum, Taunton. 1731. 

65. "Two-hundredth Anniversary of the Town of Raynham, 
Massachusetts." 1931. R. P. L. 

66. White, Patrice. "Raynham." 1972. 

67 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham . 
Republican Printing Office. 1865. 

68 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1868 

6 9 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1871 

7 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1873 

Taunton: C. A. Hack and Son, Printers 

71 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1876 
Taunton: Republican Steam Printing Room. 

7 2 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1877 
Taunton: C. A. Hack and Son 


7 3 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1878 
Taunton: C. A. Hack. 

7 4 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1879 
Taunton: C. A. Hack. 

75 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1882 
Taunton: J. S. Sampson. 

7 6 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1883 
Taunton: J.S. Sampson. 

7 7 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1884 
Taunton: J.S. Sampson. 

7 8 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1886 . 
Taunton: J.S. Sampson. 

7 9 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1889 . 
Taunton: J. S. Sampson. 

8 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1893 . 
Taunton: J.S. Sampson. 

8 1 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1894 . 
Taunton: J. S. Sampson, Printer. 

82 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1922 . 
Taunton: Charles VS. Davol. 

8 3 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1927 . 

8 4 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1928 . 


8 5 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 193 1 
Taunton: W. W. Gibson and Co. 

86. Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1957 . 
Taunton: Taunton Printing Co. 

87 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1965 . 

8 8 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1966 . 
New Bedford: Reynolds De Walt Printing, Inc. 

8 9 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1982 . 

90 . Annual Report of the Town Officers of the Town of Raynham 1987 . 

Personal notes on the history of Raynham: